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Tomorrows Business Answers to Today’s Crisis

The dogs barking, the babies crying, the children need help with their homework, you’re on a conference call with the third solution for conferencing you have used today, your instant messaging tools are pinging you, and your partner is saying “we need to go shopping before the shelves are empty”. This is the reality of the work environment for many today!

Oh, and I forgot to mention. You forgot to turn the conferencing camera off from last night and you suddenly realize the customer team at the other end of the video is in fits of laughter!!!

Does any of this sound familiar?

On Jan 11, our world changed again!

For those of you who don’t exactly know, it was on Jan 11th that the first death from COVID-19 was announced in China. Only a few weeks later and terms like LOCKDOWN are filling the news and SOCIAL DISTANCING has become the new norm. COVID 19 has delivered a Truly Global Impact! But the world continues to turn, and business must continue, so companies now urgently need to fundamentally change how they do business and do it fast!

Today, putting in place a productive and secure remote working solution is the biggest challenge facing organisations. Effective collaboration is necessary for creativity and innovation. Companies need effective alternatives for those face-to-face meetings, team workshops and ideation sessions, providing the business networking that’s essential for transacting business, supporting customers and developing new ideas. New ways are desperately needed to enable leaders to focus resources on those critical business continuity priorities, keeping staff motivated and engaged. At the same time we must remember that many of our workforce now have to balance not only the day job, but ensure child education is maintained, a critical supply chain is in place, healthy meals are delivered, entertainment is provided, finances are balanced and the entire family health and well-being is sustained.

Enabling productive remote working

Many companies rush to the typical tools, but do they totally help? Solutions like MS Teams, Slack, Zoom, WebEx, Skype etc. all play a role in providing options to address the challenge of no face-to-face contact, But they also cause significant invasion into people’s personal lives and to be clear, they do not solve the challenge of providing a platform to engage and transact business.

Also, the rise in use of these tools (many of them not just by business) has put unanticipated stress on both system reliability and remote networking technologies. This is now causing both bandwidth and security concerns, as well as availability risks for critical business activities. Research by VPN vendor Atlas shows VPN usage in the U.S. grew by 53% between March 9 and 15 and in Italy, where the outbreak was about 2 weeks ahead, it increased by 112%.

We are all learning the challenges of these technologies and realizing conducting effective business remotely is going to require more.

Transparent communication and structured engagement require tools that drive focus and help teams and individuals eliminate the noise from these traditional solutions. Think back to those days when you used to work in an office (seems a lifetime ago now), did you really enjoy your co-workers ambling into your cubicle without warning to discuss an idea just when you were deep in a thought process, or on a critical confidential call? Yet, when your chat app pings, or your mail notification pops up, you instinctively drop everything to join the conversation or respond.

I did read recently that employees get addicted to Chat, IM or Email distractions and interruptions. It was said that responding to notifications creates dopamine in the brain, making these activities highly addictive. For some, this may be desirable but it’s not productive!

Organisations must urgently seek new ways of effectively enabling their disconnected teams to work together and with their customers, suppliers and partners, at different times and in any location, with a focus on the urgency that still gets work done.

The Answer is simple, find a tool that delivers this fast!

To be more precise, businesses need a tool that delivers a new way for companies to communicate with their employees. A tool that delivers a robust business continuity solution and provides a simple and powerful way for leadership to broadcast one-to-many communications, critical business perspectives and insight across the company and delivers a way to maintain focus, roll out new working practice learnings and more.

To replace those office group meetings the solution needs to deliver an empowering and engaging employee-centric approach to business information sharing, bottoms-up questions, discussions and understanding. These tools need to deliver all in this one place, out of the box collaborative working tools and processes that drive clarity, productivity and results. Summarized critical business data is delivered with access to knowledge and those critical experts weaved around it. The way work gets done, the people networks you rely on, the people who actually deliver your organisations output right in your line of sight.

Finally, and very few integrated tools can achieve this, deliver an ability to provide more engaging interactions with customers to share relevant offers, insight and support and change how you engage to, and with the core parts of your ecosystem. The right tool will deliver a virtual window to your entire business, making it easy for companies to show the clear value they, and the companies that support them can offer during this disruptive time.

One tool that does this is SAP Jam

SAP Jam, from day one, was designed to enable companies to more easily connect, communicate, collaborate, and engage employees, customers and stakeholders with the right information and processes. SAP Jam, enterprise edition can bring significant solutions and specific out of the box use cases that can support many of today’s critical business problems in a cohesive and collaborative manner: Workforce Engagement, Protection and Re-skilling, Supply Chain Stabilization and Agility, Customer Engagement and Communication, and Critical Nerve-Center Integration.

SAP Jam, enterprise edition is already helping some of our customers drive business continuity during this time of uncertainty and change.

With SAP Jam, enterprise edition, our customers can easily connect, communicate, collaborate, and engage employees, customers, partners and stakeholders with the right information and processes at the right time, and it can initially be implemented in as little as 5-10 (five to ten) working days to get companies started.

How could this help me you may ask?

In an SAP-commissioned Total Economic Impact study of SAP Jam by Forester Consulting, conducted before the lock-down, it was discovered that SAP Jam can decrease time to access information and expertise, improve mobile workers’ ability to collaborate, decrease sales cycle times, and lower costs associated with software and common business processes such as on boarding and training employees and resolving customer services issues.

Quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews revealed that over three years, organizations experienced:

  • 73% reduction in IT intranet management costs
  • 20% Reduced costs of licence fees from multiple collaboration products.
  • 20% Reduced training travel costs
  • 19% Reduced new employee on-boarding costs, saving $5.7 million.
  • 16% Decreased time to access information and expertise, providing a $17.6 million gain
  • 14% Reduction in support calls by having the correct answer the first time
  • 10% Increased sales efficiency by $4.8 million over three years, by reduced the time to close new business

In today’s environment many of these challenges are even greater and in this new world order SAP Jam is already proving its value again and again. Very few other “collaboration” tools can claim to do this in a single comprehensive and easy to use environment. Very few then complement these capabilities with tried and tested specific business use cases out of the box.

Across industries SAP Jam can deliver a rapid solution to today’s new challenges

Here is a few just off the top of my head:

  • Transform to Support Today’s Work Environment

Use SAP Jam to interconnect and engage employees and partners who are now remote working only. Re-imagine your business processes to be efficient in today’s new work environments, in order to free up time better spent generating new ideas

  • Enable Asset Management from a Distance

Develop more instinctive asset planning and on-site operations, using SAP Jam to drive the right focus remotely on asset priorities across your ecosystem, enabling distance knowledge transfer and enabling you to improve utilization, productivity and reducing downtime.

  • Improve Planning and Risk Management

SAP Jam connects diverse audiences in a collaborative, data and information rich environment, accelerating decision-making to minimize risk and maximize return. Align your entire network to meet needs of today’s reality – facilitate open, agile and collaborative networks across highly distributed teams to improve planning, status tracking, task management, delivery and innovation.

  • Maintain Supply Chain Effectiveness

Develop and improve how you plan and forecast the manufacture of complex products remotely across your distributed employee experts, manufacturing plants and supply networks. Use SAP Jam to accelerate the cycle times between planning, decision making and execution.

  • Cultivate talent re-skilling

Leverage SAP Jam to train, uncover and share the know-how within your entire ecosystem to retain, retrain and inspire your talent, engaging employees across your ecosystem, leveraging their expertise and ability to be re-purposed in this current environment.

Delivering, Despite Today’s Crisis! is this real?

As we know, the Retail Industry is both decimated today and experiencing in some sub-sectors extremely aggressive growth in demand. How do you drive alignment, share best practices, collaborate to enable continuity and safe trading?

One company recently came to us with this exact problem. They needed a unique forum for enabling individuals to still actively come together to engage in dialogue, collaboration and problem-solving and help every business they interacted with address the critical crisis of today. They needed to facilitate a new way for their customer network to communicate to their customers so they could maintain business continuity. Finally, they needed an ability for the network to easily share and develop new relevant offers, insight and support.

WHAT WAS DELIVERED

Day One – Midday: An SAP Jam instance with 5,000 ext. users was switched on. Logon credentials were set up to ensure all that needed it, had access for the following morning. In parallel – teams at the customer developed completed detailed story boards utilizing several of the out of the box use case examples to develop proposed groups and pages.

Day Two:  Workshops planned out desired targets and anticipated effort, completed several of the necessary perquisite config activities.

Day Three: SAP conducted several “tutorial build” exercises, answered design/feature/function questions and jointly with the customer built the planned environment together in about 2 hours.

The teams then divided up remaining target workloads, building the layouts offline with agreement to reconnect in 2 hours.

Day Three – evening: The team reconnected to review the Phase 1 solution, now almost ready for the Pilot and Roll-out stage!

Today’s crisis needs real business answers ready for tomorrow! OK this solution took 3 Days, but I can guarantee that’s faster than almost all the other alternatives, and it is certainly more productive.

 

Thanks for reading this, and I hope it has inspired some thinking, but I must go now as I have just noticed that the children are painting the dog!

I know I said for your art lesson paint me a dog but seriously…

Anthony Leaper

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