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Before we try to answer the question posed in the title to this post, let’s step back and first try to understand the meanings of SIM, eUICC, and some of the other acronyms associated with mobile connectivity.

A subscriber identity module (SIM) is the chip card typically issued by a mobile operator that contains a mobile subscription. SIM cards are a universal integrated circuit card (UICC), which is the standard describing their physical and electrical characteristics. This subscription is technically called an international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI). The traditional SIM card issued by a mobile operator contains a single IMSI for the issuing operator. The IMSI is then used to authorize access to mobile networks, whether the home network or another network the device has roamed.

SIMs have come in a variety of physical formats; they started out back in the 1990s the size of credit cards, and gradually smaller and smaller form factors have been standardized as the devices became increasingly intricate. There is even an embedded SIM form factor, which is a tiny computer chip that can be soldered directly onto a circuit board.

All these types of SIMs are the same in terms of functionality. They provide a secure repository for the IMSI, ensuring authorized mobile networks can be accessed and keeping the IMSI safe to prevent it from being misused or replicated by a third party.

The eUICC (Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card) is different in that it provides a virtual filing system to store multiple virtual SIMs. These can also be remotely updated.

With the eUICC, to change the SIM, you only need to do a configuration change or over-the-air update, whereas with a UICC SIM, you must swap out the physical SIM card from the device.

Why the obvious choice for IoT connectivity may be eUICC

Although the eUICC is designed to allow multiple SIMs to be stored on the same device and for them to be remotely updated, each of the different profiles must be used separately. When changing the SIM profile used on an eUICC enabled device, you must go through a significant authorization process with a central authority.

Once the SIM swap is agreed to, the device will connect via a new “home” network, and a new IP address and phone number will be allocated to the device. Also, the device will have to update the APN (Access Point Name); this is a valid name for the gateway establishing the connection between the mobile network and the Internet or the enterprise’s network. If any of these steps fail, the device will be left unconnected. All of this creates complexity and requires time to complete.

Consider an Internet of Things (IoT) device. The manufacturer distributes devices globally and wants to avoid creating multiple SKUs (stock keeping units) for each place a device will be used. Loading a different SIM profile based on the product’s destination will create significant complexities and costs. Even within a single home country, the networks have different areas of coverage, which will be problematic for an IoT device tied to one network. For instance, a utility meter may be in a fixed location that’s covered only by one of the four networks in a given country. Remember if an eUICC-enabled device cannot connect from a location, it cannot be updated. So eUICC is not the right solution for every application.

It’s in situations like the above that multi-IMSI SIMs can provide a much simpler and more efficient solution. Multi-IMSI SIMs are regular physical SIMs, so they can operate with a much wider variety of existing equipment. Unlike regular SIMs though, multi-IMSI SIMs contain multiple IMSIs or mobile subscriptions. The device can switch between the subscriptions on the SIM, ensuring the best possible combination of price and coverage. The IMSI swaps can be made in real time as a device moves locations or a new network becomes available. Furthermore, when a switch is made between subscriptions, the device’s IP address and phone number and the APN configuration remain the same. This makes it possible to change the IMSI in real time, without requiring any reconfiguration of the IoT device’s connectivity.

With a multi-IMSI SIM, a manufacturer can install the same SIM in every device regardless of where in the world it will be used, maintaining a single SKU. Once the device is shipped and turned on, the multi-IMSI SIM will select the best IMSI for the networks available locally. If there is an IMSI better than those available on the SIM, it can be remotely provisioned onto the SIM.

It’s certainly worth taking a look at multi-IMSI SIM solutions when considering options for IoT connected via mobile.

Want to further engage with the IoT conversation? Join us at #SAPPHIRENOW on May 7-9 in Orlando for the “Transform Edge Computing with Intelligent IoT Connectivity” interactive session.

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The industry that is often synonymous with smoking tailpipes and rusting factories is undergoing some radical changes. The automotive industry is experiencing the pace of innovation that we’ve come to expect from the tech sector.

Because the transport of people and goods affects us all in countless ways, these changes are reshaping the world we share – for the better. Here’s how:

1. It’s changing its focus from the vehicle to the business model

What we used to call the “automotive industry” is reinventing itself. It has become the mobility industry, and the change is much more than a rebranding exercise. While companies in this sector once focused on manufacturing vehicles, they’re now focused on creating experiences for citizens, for cities, and for societies. It’s a bigger mission. It’s not just about making great cars.

What’s driving this change? The traditional paradigms of buying and leasing are morphing into mobility-as-a-service. Historically, owning and leasing meant having a relationship of sorts with a single vehicle. With mobility, we don’t really care as much about the vehicle. What matters is how we get from Point A to Point B. In this new world, automakers still need the manufacturing and supply chain expertise that made them stalwarts of the industrial economy – but the vehicles they make are now a smaller part of a larger vision.

To keep pace with this evolution, traditional automakers are launching mobility startups within their operations. They’re forming strategic alliances with technology and communications companies to fill in any strategic gaps. And because they see the tremendous opportunity in developing the autonomous fleets that will transform the shipping and distribution industries, they’re scrambling to ensure that they’ll have a place at the table.

So, the transition will be challenging for mobility industry players, but consumers and communities will see significant benefits. As a recent McKinsey report puts it: “Radical improvements in cost-effectiveness, convenience, experience, safety, and environmental impact will, taken together, disrupt myriad business models on an almost inconceivable scale.”

2. It’s becoming more diverse and collaborative

It’s no surprise that a fundamental rethinking of the industry’s business model will call for different talents, new skills, and unorthodox perspectives — and that’s exactly what we’re seeing with the shift to mobility. You don’t need to look any further than the top of GM’s org chart and CEO Mary Barra for the evidence that the industry is becoming more diverse. And diversity is also on the rise in the ecosystem of companies involved in making mobility a reality.  Innovation is just as likely to occur in Silicon Valley as it is in Detroit, and small startups can have as big an impact as a Fortune 500 enterprise. Because of this shift, an innovative idea that used to take years to go from drawing board to assembly line now moves at Internet speed.

Mobility companies are also recognizing that their ability to collaborate within a more diverse ecosystem is a prerequisite to success. Municipalities, utilities, automakers, insurance companies, and telco providers all need one another to deliver on their shared vision, and they’re working together like never before to make the transition to renewable energy, smart cities, and a green economy. There’s now widespread acknowledgment that the future of mobility depends on the cooperation of manufacturers, regulators, governments, and technology companies. And that means the industry needs people who can listen, negotiate, and compromise.

3. It’s becoming cleaner and safer

Speaking of Mary Barra, her announcement of GM’s vision to achieve a future with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion shows how the entire industry is moving toward a cleaner and safer future. Twenty years ago, this type of announcement would have seemed impossibly audacious. Today, it seems inevitable.

While the internal combustion engine is a reality for the foreseeable future, the real innovation is occurring with electric and autonomous vehicles. The growing momentum of these technologies is leading to a world with less congestion through better traffic management. Fewer distracted drivers drowsing off or texting will reduce fatalities. We’re seeing these changes happen now. Traditional players like Magna, Borg Warner, and Delphi/Aptiv are learning to create business models in the electric/autonomous world. The change won’t happen overnight. Big, powerful, gas-burning vehicles are still money makers for the traditional industry players, and electric vehicles with lithium batteries have their own environmental impact, but the needle is moving. And it’s pointing to a greener, safer future.

Profound change can be either disruption or opportunity. For the automotive industry, the transition to mobility is turning out to be a period of reinvention and new possibilities. It’s an exciting time to be a part of an industry that’s changing the world for the better.

Get to know the preconfigured processes, capabilities, and delivery approach that can help your business flourish now and for years to come. Explore SAP Model Company services for Automotive.

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The following is the sixth in a series of conversations about marketing innovation with Jeff Janiszewski and Ginger Shimp from SAP North America Marketing. In this blog, they discuss the importance of creativity to the innovation process.

GINGER: Across the last five blogs, we’ve talked about what marketing innovation is, why it’s important, and more particularly, how we used it to reach out to our audience in a new way.

JEFF: We’re fortunate to work for a company, and a VP, that understands the importance of innovation and supports our efforts. Business is changing more rapidly than it ever has and slower than it ever will, and marketers in every industry need to innovate to keep pace.

GINGER: Nonetheless, many marketers find themselves focusing on immediate problems rather than designing innovations that will build long-term relationships with their customers. While it certainly makes sense to supply customers with specific information late in the sales cycle, it’s important to understand that on first contact, potential customers are typically looking for empathy and advice. In fact, Stratabeat did a survey and found that emotion is the #1 factor in customer loyalty in 18 of the 18 industries examined. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio once said, “We are not thinking machines. We are feeling machines that think.”

JEFF: And from a marketer’s perspective, that opportunity for empathy is a great way to begin the design thinking process to look for ways to innovate.

GINGER: We’re big believers in the design thinking process. Having a rational, iterative, step-by-step approach to innovation is important, particularly when the collaboration of many participants is required. However, at the heart of the innovation process is creativity. Innovation is not about applying known solutions to known problems; that’s engineering. Innovation is about creating a practical, novel approach to new challenges.

JEFF: However, that raises some questions. Will design thinking always lead to innovation? Can you really take a systematic approach to creativity? And can creativity be taught?

GINGER: Those questions have been hotly debated by experts for years, and if they’ve reached any conclusion at all, it would be, “it depends.” It reminds me of an entomologist that I met at a party. Her specialty was spiders.

JEFF: Wait, I thought entomologists studied insects; spiders are arachnids.

GINGER: That surprised me too. Apparently, they study insects, spiders, arthropods, worms, snails, and anything else that creeps you out, but don’t get me off topic. This woman knew absolutely everything there is to know about spider webs and how they’re made, and that’s a vast topic. However, she had never made a real spider web.

JEFF: The woman? She’s not a spider.

GINGER: Exactly. Simply studying creativity and innovation won’t make us creative. Even if she were to spend a lifetime trying, she’d never be able to make a genuine web because she’s not a spider. Now that may seem obvious or silly, but the point is that creativity requires more than just desire and knowledge. It requires some degree of innate ability and skill. The good news is that creativity isn’t binary. You can’t really say that someone either is or isn’t creative. Unless you’re in a complete vegetative state, you have some degree of creativity, but it needs to be nurtured.

JEFF: And people will excel in different domains. Some will be creative painters, some will be creative writers, and some will be creative musicians. My uncle was a creative bookkeeper, but he ended up in jail.

GINGER:

JEFF: Well, some people are overly creative and only use their talents for self-fulfillment, but true innovation is inherently pragmatic. That’s why the design thinking approach works well in a collaborative setting. It forces those who are wildly creative to be a little more practical and play well with others, and it encourages those with minimal creative ability to step out of their comfort zone.

GINGER: There are a lot of obstacles to marketing innovation such as time, budget, a focus on immediate concerns, and an intolerance for risk, but it’s often the inability of collaborators to communicate with each other effectively that poses the biggest obstacle. In my opinion, marketers and associated creatives need to fashion a common language — an argot — to facilitate better communication.

JEFF: Yes, if you want to see a creative whither before your eyes, just say vague things like, “Can you punch that up a little?” or “Can you do that differently?” Marketers need to practice their creative criticism, so in the ideation phase they can say something more than, “That’s not really working for me.”

GINGER: Marketers need to get away from their desks and explore artistic endeavors. Jeff and I both read books — well … we listen to audiobooks now. We both like to cook and go to the theatre and visit art museums. There are all sorts of options, but it needs to be something artistic. Intellectual pursuits like playing chess or doing Sudoku puzzles are great ways to engage your brain, but you need to get involved in more subjective pursuits, so you can train yourself to have a more critical eye and be able to easily articulate constructive criticism. It takes practice.

JEFF: Criticism is a vital part of innovation because you can’t progress until you determine whether an innovation is making things better or worse.

GINGER: Often people won’t voice their opinions because they lack the courage of their convictions, or they don’t want to be negative. Naturally, no one wants to work with a toxic troll, but legitimate, thoughtful opinions should be welcomed.

JEFF: In any case, marketing innovation is almost always a collaborative process, and each participant will bring his own style and ideas to the table.

GINGER: Participants also bring unique skills. Some will be leaders, some will be wildly imaginative, and some will be pragmatic project managers. Without question, the most important factor in marketing innovation is bringing together the right people with the right skills.

JEFF: From there, you need to empathize with your customers, narrowly define your goal, and begin the ideation process.

GINGER: Finally, it’s important to remember that there is no failure. This is an iterative learning process. Regardless of whether things go as planned or not, you need to evaluate and share those lessons, and then leverage them into the next innovation.

JEFF: So that’s it for now. If you get a chance, please check out our audiobooks on the Intelligent Enterprise ― we cover 15 industries ― and let us know what you think. Seriously. Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you. Thank you all for reading.

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Part of the “Digital CIO” series

While concerns over user experience have been at the top of most CIOs’ agendas for years, IT organizations have often been focused on using technology to help employees get work done quickly, efficiently, and productively. They would determine and document standards for creating the “right” digital interactions and deliver formal courses to ensure that every user knew how to use a new application proficiently. They even designed solutions that people wanted to use, rather than being forced to use them out of necessity.

However, digital preferences are becoming so sophisticated that people are demanding more than just standards-based technology and simple interfaces. The expectation is for all digital experiences to be immersive, interactive, and intelligent. Employees are demanding access to the right service and information – whether they are online or offline – with interactions that are productive and applications that are easy to use. And customers expect this experience, too.

Providing an experience that is intuitive for any user allows every existing and potential customer to get the basic services they need. At the same time, it’s challenging to shift the omnichannel customer experience across the entire business – unless the right foundation and mindset are in place.

Reimagining the digital core ignites innovative thinking

For us at JG Summit, part of the answer to connecting the dots among customers, employees, and internal operations is our deployment of a next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. Decision-makers across the business can leverage real-time analytics to turn data points into insights that lead to well-informed actions. But more importantly, this approach allows us to create both top-line growth and bottom-line savings for the company.

With intelligent ERP, we are looking forward to building engaging and productive user experiences as a science of people, processes, and interactions – with technology as an underlying enabler. Built-in templates and intelligent capabilities, like artificial intelligence, are just one piece of a larger puzzle when evolving user experiences with greater precision and personalization. What this suite delivers – especially when combined with a modern user experience – is a digital core of intelligence that supports these experiences.

For example, we are planning to automate core HR processes such as payroll, recruitment, and succession planning, which will elevate the role of HR professionals and empower them to engage in in-depth conversations that are meaningful and actionable. Our finance and accounting teams are also considering this digital opportunity to focus more on delivering analysis of business performance, opportunities, and risks – instead of just generating reports.

Commitment from the top steers a conglomerate in the same direction

Without a doubt, we now have the potential to create the foundation we need to deliver user experiences that are responsive to everyone’s needs. But this would not have been possible without the unwavering executive-level commitment and support we have received throughout JG Summit – especially from our CEO.

Since most IT projects are not purely technical in nature, they also require the right business sponsorship and governance to succeed. This business-led, IT-enabled approach allows IT to work with every business area to ensure digital readiness and engage potential users to encourage adoption.

By adopting this mindset, we also created a Value Transformation Office to monitor predetermined milestones and outcomes to gauge the return on the digital investment. Through this governance structure, we can quantify the value that intelligent ERP – as well as other technology implementations, add-ons, and updates – bring to the overall company, subsidiary, and individual consumer. This tactic enables us to view our efforts through the lens of reality, security, and practicality – not controversial perceptions, risk, and wishful thinking.

As I reflect on what my IT team has achieved to date, I am very excited to see how the business will continue to transform. Our operations are becoming more efficient. Our employees are innovating new ways to more strategically and productively. We are designing products and services as well as shopping experiences that will continue to wow our customers. But more importantly, the IT organization is quickly becoming a fundamental partner for steering our entire conglomerate – all 200 companies and counting – toward strong future growth.

Discover why now is the time to join thousands of SAP customers, such as JG Summit, that are already using SAP S/4HANA to run their businesses in new ways.

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Conversational user interfaces (UIs) are steadily becoming an integrated part of everyday life. From Siri on iOS and MacOS and Google’s and Amazon’s home devices to Microsoft’s integration of Cortana into Windows, billions of chatbots and voice assistants are pushing the limits of digitalization with an experience rooted in humanness.

Despite the growing acceptance and availability, users are expecting more from conversation-based technologies. Already, messaging apps have outpaced social-media channels in active users while robots begin to handle over 85% of client-company interactions. Studies predict that this trend will go even further as a growing majority of consumers demand to see and use these capabilities to talk with their vendors – and some are already starting such engagement with customer-support exchanges.

According to Omer Biran, managing director of Conversational AI at SAP, the reason why people and businesses are focused on using conversational UI comes down to two things – workforce productivity and customer experience. And these promises are empowering a growing majority of companies to prioritize the integration of chatbots – internally for employees and externally for customers – in their strategic digitalization plans.

Combining technologies to create the ultimate user experience

To create a user experience that keeps employees and customers engaged and productive in everything they do, it is important to consider both sides of the conversational UI:

1. Digital assistants

Allow every user to smoothly interact with business applications through a unique conversational interface. Companies can customize these tools internally and integrate them with other solutions to deliver the ultimate promises of artificial intelligence.

These tools are especially useful when they are plugged into existing business applications and extended to improve the experience of relevant use cases – all while embedding high levels of personalization and context awareness in every interaction.

2. Bot-building platforms

Deliver a flexible environment on which powerfully collaborative agents can be innovated for digital assistants or as standalone tools. With a conversational interface builder, companies can create digital assistants for new use cases and adapted to evolving operational needs when needed.

Access to best-practice modules and expert communities helps businesses train algorithm models, build applications, generate data, connect systems, and monitor performance all on one platform. Plus, they can innovate any use case at scale for specific industry needs. 

Creating an engaging foundation for an intelligent enterprise

Using these two technologies allows companies to create experiences that are simple, connected, agile, and fast – all of which are hallmarks of an intelligent enterprise.

For example, hiring managers can use existing applications to ask questions in speech or text to learn how to best promote an employee. Internal buyers can cancel orders in a business network with ease and confidence. Traveling employees can resubmit expenses without the risk of error and noncompliance through a single, guided interface.

When it comes to digital innovation, the creation of human-like experiences is becoming the new priority. Over time, companies will find new ways to automate support services with smart, multilingual, and always-on chatbots. And for employees and customers alike, this interface will deliver what everyone wants from their technology – insight-driven decision-making, swift action, and desirable outcomes.

Enhance the quality of customer support, customer satisfaction, and revenue generation with smart, multilingual, and always-on chatbots. Watch the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) Webcast replay “Enable the Intelligent Enterprise with Conversational Interfaces,” featuring Omer Biran, managing director of Conversational AI at SAP.

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Today’s briefing looks at how blockchain can “tail” a tuna fish from ocean to table.

https://www.digitalistmag.com/files/2019/03/sapdigitalist032719.mp3
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Find and listen to previous Flash Briefings on Digitalistmag.com. 

Read more on today’s topic 

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The IT services industry has been evolving continuously over the last three decades. At every step, the underlying ethos has aimed at enabling customer success, which requires the IT industry to keep rediscovering the way it operates. Productization of services is one way to actualize that ethos and is now becoming a focus area for the industry.

What is productization of services?

Productization of services means packaging a technology product with managed services, providing a cohesive and standardized offering to customers to help solve their business problems.

A productized offering comes with definitive product features embellished with services that customers can directly plug into their environments (with little or no customization), offered at certain price points. In essence, the aim is to repurpose a customized services and product bundle that was already provided to a specific customer and turn it into a standard, fully tested, packaged, supported, and marketed product.

The services model is changing from “customization from the beginning” to “customization at the point of consumption.” By avoiding the need to reinvent the wheel for every customer individually, productization of services is a step towards minimizing customization.

Why productization of services?

The IT services industry has always been adept at tapping technology trends and converting them into clear customer value. Productization of services is one such breakthrough, providing not only immense value to the customer, but also supporting a strategic role for service teams and promoting their growth. Here’s how:

  • Nonlinear growth: IT services businesses traditionally have linear growth patterns due to resource-based delivery models and time invested in creating solutions for each individual customer. Productized offerings pose better potential to scale by reducing resource dependency because the same solution can be sold to multiple customers with minimum time spent on customization.
  • Reduced cost of customer acquisition: Selling a productized offering is a more standardized and repeatable process that significantly reduces the overall cost involved in the sales cycle (widely referred as SG&A), leading to lower customer acquisition cost.
  • Better profit margins: Pass-through costs are usually a major deterrent in a customer’s decision around purchasing a technology product from an IT services organization. However, with a productized services offering, customers are exposed only to the ultimate, complete solution. Service providers play a more collaborative role, and as the scale increases, they are better able to make higher margins.
  • Faster market penetration: Establishing a product/services offering as an industry standard supports greater penetration and market share.
How to create a “product culture”?

Moving from a talent-focused to a product-driven approach is a long, purposeful journey that needs to be planned and executed meticulously. A product culture requires a different approach and mindset across the entire value chain – sales, presales, marketing, alliances, and delivery. You need to strategically identify the services that can be productized, lay out the trajectory to do so, formulate pricing models, and most importantly, identify the correct target audience from your existing customer base and new prospects. The transformation is incomplete without building delivery competency along with all the above aspects.

Following are some of the key aspects to keep in mind when starting to build a strong product management organization in an IT services setup:

  • Set up focus groups: Identify your focus areas for development. A focus group needs to be carved that can research industry and technology trends, identify the right market demand, and build productized offerings that address them. Brainstorming within these groups will also aid in developing product offerings that can add value to the broader industry and the customers therein.
  • Devote committed leadership and investments (time and money): Organizations will need to remain patiently invested throughout the transformation journey. Initial phases of research and product development will command a substantial percentage of monetary investment and attention from leadership, while the realizable positive effects will start coming only after a while into this journey. Productization is uncharted territory for IT services providers; hence, it becomes even more crucial for the leadership to closely and continuously monitor the focus groups’ progress and the developed offerings.
  • Hire right: Hire service-oriented product managers with an aptitude not just for connecting the dots but also finding the missing pieces of the product-services puzzle. As simple as it may appear, this is one of the more critical facets in setting up the organization for success in the productization journey.
  • Establish strategic partnerships: Create strategic partnerships with technology players whose offerings align with your focus areas. Technology partners’ support is required – from the conceptualization of productized offering to designing the go-to-market strategy and even during marketing and branding campaigns.
  • Coach and mentor: Transitioning from services to a product-oriented mindset is a huge organizational culture change. It is important for all the groups within the organization, including presales, sales, alliances, and marketing and delivery, to unlearn, relearn, and retrain themselves to adapt to this change. Appropriate coaching and mentoring go a long way in ensuring the desired outcomes.

Remember that it is a gradual process that needs the right blend of research, leadership, vision, investment, and focus.

Evolve, innovate, revamp

Productization of services has always happened in IT services organizations, in some shape and form, to meet client needs. The line between product and services is becoming more blurred than ever, and rightly so. However, to realize its true potential and capitalize on it, organizations today need to make structural changes, develop a “product mindset,” and build internal product organizations to focus on this niche. Yet again, there is a dire need for the IT services industry to evolve, innovate, and revamp, and this is the way to do it.

For more on how IT can help support clients’ needs, see Customer Success Stories: What They’re All About.

Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this represent my own views and not those of any of my current or previous employers. Names, logos, and other proprietary information quoted (if any) in this blog are the property of respective companies/owners and are mentioned here for reference purpose only.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn and is republished by permission.

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Members of the millennial generation were born in the years between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s. They are the only generation that has spanned two completely different eras: pre-Internet and the digital age. We could even define this generation as the individuals who were born alongside the Internet revolution.

This “egocentric,” “self-interested,” “ambitious,” “phone-obsessed,” “unfocused,” and “difficult to manage” generation (now around 24–39 years old) is the largest workforce within companies today. Not only this, but these “independent,” “dreamers,” “flexible,” “multi-tasking,” “fast adopters,” “oriented to teams and people,” “entrepreneurs” will represent 75% of the global workforce in companies in 2025 (then around 31–45 years old), according to studies.

This generation of employees, customers, families, and shareholders will continue to change the way we do business. They will seek ways to change the world, offering a technology-driven approach contributing to making a financial impact, and more importantly, a social impact.

So, what role do millennials play today in organizations in the areas of governance, risk, compliance (GRC), and internal audit?

Are millennials killing risk, compliance, and audit?

I am part of an internal auditors’ group, and in conversations with the directors, I have identified a pattern: They are continually looking for new internal auditors to work in the area. They are struggling to encourage the new generation to come to work and stay engaged in these areas. They have also confirmed that finding new talent with a certain profile to join the team is getting more difficult. When asked what is happening, most blame the millennials for killing risk, compliance, and internal audit.

I wonder if the millennial generation is really responsible for this, or whether risk, compliance, and internal audit topics are just not of interest to them?

Let’s break this down.

Is GRC killing millennials’ expectations?

First, GRC and audit are known for their lack of technological support. The challenge in these areas is to operate “manually” at the speed of the digital world. These departments invest significant amounts of manual time investigating, collecting, analyzing, monitoring, and reporting their activities, trying to provide a vision of the company (praiseworthy). As most people know, however, the fuel for this Internet-plugged generation is the technology that gives them more flexibility to facilitate and improve their life and work.

Having said that, let me ask: Are millennials “killing” these areas, or are these areas “killing” millennials’ expectations? Can we find ways to help this idealistic and fantastic generation to think creatively and keep them in the field?

One answer: Reinvent with technology.

Risk issues are definitely front-of-mind for millennials

Second, I cannot imagine that risk, compliance, and internal audit topics are not of interest for this generation. Today’s risk perspective is more complex and interconnected; companies must be ready to mitigate risk and change as quickly as possible. Boards are demanding more visibility and transparency to identify, analyze, and respond more proactively to potential risks and opportunities.

This and the next generation are exposed to many more risks than before. Consider just a few examples: fraud and transaction detection, third-party risk management, data security, identity and access management, cloud security, control and power over data, data protection, and so on.

Besides that, millennials do not want to be seen as just a number. They want to feel like they are contributing to something important, and risk management is and will continue to be an important matter.

And let’s keep in mind that millennials are motivated by the “social aspect” and loyalty that can be gained through competent risk management.

SAP, GRC, and the next generation

What is SAP doing for the next generation in the areas of risk, compliance, and internal audit?

This is where the path to an intelligent enterprise begins. Start by identifying the voluminous and repetitive tasks or processes in the company or business areas. Then begin to automate processes with ease and intelligence so the team can focus on higher-value tasks. This will help retain top millennial-generation talents. They will be better able to provide the information executives need to predict potential risks with greater precision and speed.

Bottom line

Organizations are facing the need to adapt to the different generations. Some generations depend on their experience and knowledge, others on information and flexibility. With respect to risk and compliance, there is inevitably a need to invest in technology to help retain the newer generations and support their success. It is time to get down to work and build the road for the millennials.

If you are a millennial, I encourage you to stay tuned to the GRC evolution, because I’m sure we’ll be entertained for a while.

P.S. If you are worried about the millennials, Generation Z will arrive soon!

For more on this topic, please read The Role of Internal Audit in Digital Trust.

Follow SAP Finance online: @SAPFinance (Twitter) | LinkedIn | FacebookYouTube

This article originally appeared on the SAP Analytics blog and is republished by permission.

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If you’ve ever bought a ready-to-assemble bookshelf or put together a child’s birthday gift, you already know what it’s like to work on an assembly line at an original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

Admit it. At some point, you mistakenly attached widget A to thingamajig C. Then, after looking at the printed instructions (which you did not read in the first place), you had to retrace your steps, take your product apart, and start over.

For you, that experience probably cost little more than an hour of frustration. Repeated mistakes at an OEM, however, can cost the company its very existence.

Human-centered manufacturing

Enter Arkite. The Belgium-based startup’s Human Interface Mate (HIM) quietly looks over operators’ shoulders and thinks along with them as they perform tasks and processes. If something goes wrong, the system alerts operators and gives them an opportunity to self-correct. By focusing on the actual work with constant error checking, employees not only perform better – they’re also more relaxed while they’re working.

Arkite’s HIM is currently running in more than 50 companies, including the Ford Motor Company in Cologne, Germany, and its supplier Benteler; CNH in Antwerp, Belgium; Reynaers Aluminum; and Commscope. These OEMs manufacture 10 or more variations of the same product, posing a constant challenge for workers.

In the past, employees had to interrupt their work every time they received a new set of assembly instructions and checklists. Arkite operator guidance has eliminated these redundant activities, allowing people to go about doing what they do best.

The living, breathing supply chain

In the hands of an operator, Arkite HIM is a powerful tool. But once it is integrated into the broader business software landscape, it transforms the traditional assembly line into an extension of a digital supply chain – with the intelligence to perceive and react to any given manufacturing scenario.

For example, Arkite has successfully integrated a number of tools and components for a richer user experience and a more transparent global supply chain:

  • By exchanging data with the ERP, production orders, and materials management, Arkite helps both manufacturers and suppliers monitor market changes, order levels, and assembly instructions. They can even automatically update supply and materials requirements.
  • Carmakers are creating smoother, more intuitive tasks by eliminating manufacturing checklists, redundant process steps, and trips to the instruction manual.
  • Electronics manufacturers use Arkite to empower workers with the tools and instructions they need at any moment, including specific assembly instructions for specific models.
Perfection per million

OEM customers routinely visit factories to check defective parts per million, process compliance, and quality. Arkite-powered assembly lines automatically produce a higher level of trust and confidence.

“When you supercharge your manufacturing processes, you’re differentiating your company from the competition – and turning your global supply chain into a strategic weapon,” says Bart Lamberigts, head of development for Arkite.

Arkite is part of the SAP Startup Accelerator for Digital Supply Chain.

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Parts 1 and 2 of this series focused on the difference between transactional and relational experiences and their applications. It follows, then, that making the shift in customer experiences (a shift that applies equally to employees, products, brands, suppliers, and even personal life) from transactional to relational is in the best interest of any organization that seeks to be a sustainable business. We can also extrapolate that relational experiences drive a greater level of loyalty from customers and help derive a greater proportion of the customer’s lifetime value for the category.

Within this context, the relevant question for any organization struggling to move beyond a transactional experience with their customers is: How do we make the shift to relational experiences?

We believe that there are steps you can take as an organization to make the shift. The principles discussed below also apply to other aspects of a business or personal experience – e.g., employee-employer, supplier-customer, etc.

How to make the shift

The move from transactional to relational is a massive cultural transformation and hence can be challenging. But with the right mix of platform and/or burning ambition driven with board sponsorship and underpinned by a transformation plan aimed at all levels, it can be accomplished.

Although the specific plans for making this shift will differ based on organizational maturity, desire, and context, (both internal and market), below are a few ideas that can help. We have looked at this from the perspective of shifting the experience for the customer, but these ideas can apply to other stakeholder groups as well.

1. Know your audience/customer

“Know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker

A full picture of the customer (the target of the experience) is essential to provide the optimal experience. The ideal way to build this picture is through a combination of operational data (from your CRM or other operational systems) and experience data (from customer feedback, reviews, social media comments, etc.). This does require systems to work together to give a comprehensive picture of customers’ needs and wants.

A good customer profile can drive segmentation and a perfect experience – the key is for departments/functions within your business to use customer data well, to have one view of the customer, and to provide a consistent experience.

2. Empower and motivate employees to be your experience ambassadors

“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” – Angela Ahrendts

Management literature abounds with mentions of employees as your best asset – the shift to relational experience absolutely needs the employee to embrace and deliver it for customers. Frontline customer-facing employees alone aren’t responsible for the shift; the entire organization must rally behind it. Systems and processes need to change to support the shift – including measurements, recognition, and organizational structures – which again requires wide-scale cultural change.

Employees need support from tools and systems, but they also need the autonomy to do the right thing by the customer. This podcast from Jennifer Morgan with guest Simon Sinek offers a great discussion of the importance of doing right by your employees.

3. Embrace an honest, open, and transparent culture

“To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Douglas Adams

As described in Part 1, relational experiences take time, personal attention, and emotional connections. Hence it is important that your strategy is based on honesty, openness, and transparency with the customer. By extension, trust is the currency for a relational experience. If your organization is not honest, open, and transparent with your customers, it is difficult to make the shift to relational because your customers will not trust your motives.

4. Adopt/revitalise a relatable purpose beyond profits

“I think if the people who work for a business are proud of the business they work for, they’ll work that much harder, and therefore, I think turning your business into a real force for good is good business sense as well.” – Richard Branson, Virgin

More and more businesses are rethinking their purpose and responsibility to stakeholders beyond just shareholders. Global initiatives like B1G1 are setting the tone for this. Having a purpose beyond profits helps organizations build a deeper connection with their customers (and other stakeholders), making the shift to relational easier. Crafting a bigger purpose can be the rallying cry that brings together the organization and enables the cultural change needed.

5. Use bad experiences as an opportunity

“We learn from failure, not from success!” – Bram Stoker, Dracula

Every bad experience highlighted by customers should be treated as an opportunity to change systems and processes in the journey toward becoming a relational enterprise. A bad experience, if responded to appropriately, can be the foundation for a more emotional and deeper relationship between the customer and the organization. This does require technology to help identify customer feedback from the various channels that need an immediate response (automation can play a huge part in this).

6. Using operational and experiential data holistically

“We share the belief that every human voice holds value, every experience matters, and that the best-run businesses can make the world run better.” – Bill McDermott, SAP CEO

Data has variously been described as the new oil, gold, strategic asset, etc., but the proliferation of structured (mostly transactional) and unstructured data is a reality for every business. The critical capability of shifting your customer experiences to relational is in the ability to strategically use both operational and experiential customer data.

SAP’s acquisition of Qualtrics to create the Experience Management category is driven by the desire to help organizations make their customers’ and employees’ experiences relational. The deluge of data and the need to use it strategically necessitates a technology platform and strategy to deliver an optimal experience for your customers.

To succeed in the experience economy, the shift from transactional to relational is critical. We hope this three-part series has been useful in enhancing your understanding and application of transactional and relational experiences, and has given you some food for thought to make the shift. We are keen to hear your thoughts on this series.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

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