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At both SAPPHIRE NOW 2017 and SAP TechEd Las Vegas I had the opportunity to have conversations with a number of attendees while presenting sessions, staffing the SAP Cloud Platform showcase area, as well as, attending the HANA Innovation awards breakfast. In the many conversations I had, I noticed a clear shift from just a few years past.

Today it’s more imperative than ever for businesses across the globe to innovate at a faster pace and in many cases this effort is to support digital transformation goals of the business.  This generally requires incorporating cloud computing as strategic component in their landscape in order to be agile and deliver change rapidly.  This can further be made more efficient by standardizing on an enterprise Platform as a service (enterprise PaaS) such as SAP Cloud Platform.  In the past I would often hear objections to using the cloud, but today, there are very few organizations that do not already have some cloud applications in their corporate landscape.   The types of applications that I heard about tend to fall into one of these three categories:

  1. Extend existing on premises or cloud applications with custom processes or personalization
  2. Integrate entire business processes across the IT landscape tying together multiple systems and data to form tailored and more efficient processes
  3. Build new applications in the cloud to innovate and grow the business but yet not create islands that require separate IT management or data and process silos.

Are not sure what’s the possibility for incorporating cloud computing for your business strategy? I’ll share 3 award-winning case-study examples of companies using SAP Cloud Platform for strategic competitive advantage.

Smart Farming Saving Time and Money for Suiker Unie

How can cloud computing help farmers when it comes to increasing production yields cost-effectively, all while competing with non-regulated markets and countries with lower production costs. On top of that, farming in an eco-friendly and sustainable way by closely tracking energy consumption and the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

These were some of the challenges Suiker Unie, one of the largest producer of granulated sugar in the Netherlands, faced. They produce more than six million tons of sugar beet into granulated sugar in its factories; from cultivation, processing, and distribution, there are a lot of moving pieces to make sure operations is running efficiently.

The Next View, a SAP partner, built a user-friendly app on SAP Cloud Platform for Suiker Unie to facilitate field operations, empower the use of the IoT in the harvesting process, and provide data-driven breed and cultivation advice. These elements together provided farmers with the information they needed across the entire growing and harvesting process – from cultivation problems and advice to harvesting progress to bring smart farming to life.

With the app, farmers had better insights to improve the growth of the sugar beet crops; all while giving them the opportunity to leverage the sugar yield of their beer crops and gain financial benefits with less effort, less energy, and less use of pesticides.

The result of this for the business is higher yields of sugar per kg beet; less effort and lower energy consumption per kg sugar will help increase profit margins.

“Increasing the sugar percentage in the beet by 1% will increase turnover by €25 million.” Said Pieter Brooijmans, Manager Farming Services, Suiker Unie

Self-Service Enhanced Communication and Customer Service for Fairfax Water

Fairfax Water, the largest water utility in Virginia, wanted to enhance customer engagement through self-service and real-time communication methods. The challenge they faced was that customer had no way to track and monitor usage, which leads to overconsumption. They were also not able to effectively communicate with the company, pay bills online, or subscribe to services such as paperless billing.

Fairfax Water deployed Smart Utility System’s (SUS) smart customer mobile (SCM) platform, built on SAP Cloud Platform, and integrated it with SAP Multichannel Foundation for Utilities and Public Sector software.

In this way, Fairfax could quickly deploy a leading platform to engage its customers over the Web and through mobile devices, offering self-service capabilities and real-time, two-way communication. The benefits are clear: Leveraging data from these digitalized interactions, Fairfax has attained a 360-degree customer view and reduced its operating costs; All manual and paper-based customer transactions are now digitalized, saving millions of dollars and Customer calls and issue resolution time have quickly reduced through digital mobile self-service.

Their customer self-service achieved 82% Improvement in customer communication and satisfaction, 90% Increase in customer exposure and adoption rates of programs,  64% Reduction in call volume, 72% OPEX savings and operational in 16 weeks without impacting their current production environment

The value and usage is endless with SAP Cloud Platform. Aesculap, Karma Automotive, and Deloitte have done the same, read their case study in a recent blog here.

Get inspired!

These SAP customers and partner stories are all stellar examples of innovation in motion; in fact, all of them are winners of the 2017 SAP HANA Innovation Award. The SAP Innovation Awards (renamed starting in 2018) provides a platform for our most forward-thinking customer and partner to share their successes and allows SAP to share these amazing accomplishments with a wider audience. There were over 150 ground-breaking examples of innovations submitted in 2017 Stay tuned for our continuing coverage in upcoming blogs and open the link below to enter the 2018 awards.

The SAP Innovation Awards 2018 is now open! Formally known as the SAP HANA Innovation Awards, we want to recognize our customers & partners for their amazing accomplishments in digital transformation and innovation. Learn more on how you can enter your innovation story! Join the conversation on Twitter: #SAPInnovation

Download the full eBook featuring SAP Cloud Platform customers for more insights on selected entries and winners to see if this springs up any ideas. If you’re interested in learning more about the SAP Innovation Awards, I encourage you to check out some related resources:

I would love to hear your thoughts or if you have any questions around your SAP Cloud Platform. Follow me on @michaelhill_sap.

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