Today was another energizing day at the Industries campus.     

Like yesterday, here are just a few of the many memorable sessions.  In the session, “Digital @ the Speed of Consumer,” Steve Soderberg along with SAP’s Lori Mitchell-Keller discussed Fitbit’s success with SAP S/4HANA to a packed theater. The session began with a discussion on consumer expectations.  Consumers increasingly expect to get exactly what they want at the right moment and at the right place. Therefore, consumer businesses need to rethink what their customers really want, and how they will interact with them. New models already include personalized offers, omnichannel commerce and outcome-based pricing. Putting the customer at the center of all decisions necessitates fully connected end-to-end processes. Technologies like digital networks, predictive analytics, virtual reality and 3D printing will enable massive changes in business models and processes. Fitbit demonstrates nicely how a great product can be reimagined. Measuring biometric data like heart rates and individual activities like the number of steps taken in real time already provides a benefit to health conscience consumers – this was how the massive success of this brand started. As a result Fitbit has captured what is probably the largest biometric database in the world. Yet, Fitbit does not stop there. By analyzing the aggregated data, they are also able to give advice back to their customers elevating their customer relationships to that of a digital health / wellness company. With SAP S/4HANA and SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP), they built the foundation to make this vision a reality.  As a testament to the scale of adoption, this past Christmas Day, Fitbit activated over 1.5 million devices! 

The session, “Support an Efficient, Quality Chargeback Experience in Digital Distribution,” featured Scansource, a leading international value added distributor of specialty technology products.  The company was founded in 1992 in Greenville, SC.  Why did Scansource upgrade their processes to a more digitally oriented process?  Crystal Selfridge explained, “We were running an old ERP system that was DOS based. It made you feel like you were playing Pac-Man.  We needed to transform to the global company we were.” Retailer Woolworths took the stage today in the session, “Transform HR with People Strategy That Delivers Business Outcomes.”  Woolworths invested in SAP SuccessFactors Talent Management Suite plus core HR/payroll cloud solutions to transform functions and improve HR services and business outcomes for its 170,000 employees.  Alison Merner provided tested advice on how to position a transformational change.  Rather than position a system change she focused on the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) for all affected employees – things like better visibility, flexible access, elimination of paper-based processing, and more timely decision making capabilities. In other words, tailoring the change management needs to individuals.

During the session, “Build Resilience into Digital Supply Networks by Using Live Business” SAP’s Hans Thalbauer spoke about how customer centricity will change operations tremendously. Omnichannel commerce will increase supply chain complexity dramatically implying a higher risk of larger inventories. Keeping the promise of one-hour shipments means figuring out the last mile. Further, timing becomes critical – e.g. what if an order comes through during Super Bowl? The need for speed can only be fulfilled if demand is predicted correctly, and if all processes run flexibly. Further, individualization of products and production of lot sizes of one make it difficult to keep cost under control. Digitization can help. Suppliers, manufacturing procedures, assets and logistics need to be connected through digital networks, and planning within these areas need to be harmonized. The internet of things, real-time transactions, and predictive analytics will help achieve this.

In “Improve business performance through digitization in life sciences,” Merck & Co., one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, turned a single SAP platform into a strategic weapon. The journey started about 10 years ago. At the time they needed to improve visibility into the current state of their business, understand spend data, and accelerate close processes. At that point in time, they had no SAP instance. Starting over from scratch was a great opportunity for Merck & Co. They ambitiously took a very comprehensive approach to optimize financials, sales, accounting, procurement, HR, and production down to the shop floor. Fast forward 10 years, Merck & Co. has retired almost 2000 legacy systems and moved to one platform.

Towards the end of the day Alexis Glick moderated a panel with Reggie Jackson (baseball of famer & entrepreneur), Adrienne Fong (M.R.K.T.) and Andrew Utas (GRAY Gallery).  The panel was called “Reggie Jackson, Art and Design – Discover the Common Thread.”  Today happened to be Reggie’s 70’s birthday, which made his appearance all the more special.  All three entrepreneurs have achieved great success.  SAP Anywhere helped these entrepreneurs realize their visions by using one convenient system to manage the marketing, sales, commerce and inventory aspects of the businesses.

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It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is the final day of SAPPHIRE NOW this year.  How should you approach it? If you haven’t already visited the showcase demonstrations just outside the keynote, definitely take a look.  Within the industry campus you can connect with experts in your industry, which can really ground your experience as you aim to absorb the conference back home. 

If you aren’t in Orlando this week then check out the live streaming and follow the conversation stream on Twitter.

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