Three Imperatives for Successful Businesses in 2019

Lloyd Adams, Managing Director, East Region, SAP North America

The world of technology today has drastically evolved from what it was a year, or even a month ago – that’s the rapid pace of change that companies have to adapt to in order to stay afloat. While previously unexplored advancements can surface at the flick of a switch, several constants have taken hold, dictating how and when companies can operate in today’s marketplace. Here’s a list of developments I see unfolding further in the new year as well as how leaders can get ahead of them:

  • Experience will reign supreme

Other the next year we’re going to see an expansion in lines of business – like marketing, HR and sales – combine more sources of data to better enable them to connect with customers, job candidates and prospects. They’ll not only use transactional data (e.g. what they’ve purchased) but also experiential data (e.g. how do they feel about certain topics) to ultimately fuel greater empathy and a more complete understanding of the individual. I predict that the technology enabling this will leap forward in the coming years. And that will equip people to engage with one another on a far more meaningful level – leading to a far richer customer experience.

  • Brands that stand for nothing will be left behind

Purpose and the potential for brands to enact positive change isn’t anything new, and we’ve seen corporate citizenship and traditional CSR efforts become part of many companies for decades. But now we’re seeing that consumers are demanding more – they will support with their wallets companies that are authentic and accountable and punish those that aren’t.

  • Data ethics will become more important than data analytics

Consumer frustration with companies mishandling their personal data will drive forward-thinking companies to double down on ensuring ethics remain at the forefront. We’ll see these companies pause to consider whether the customer would be comfortable with the way their data is being used, and they’ll shift to an emphasis on forging relationships based on trust above all else. Technology will continue to advance to aid personal relationships rather than replace them, and goodwill will become even more of a competitive differentiator.

In short, business leaders in 2019 should take steps to go beyond being a good corporate citizen and authentically link their brand identity to purpose, mindfully leveraging technology in ways that spark world-changing concepts and seek to generate a powerful experience for customers, employees and others in their ecosystem.

In a World of Data, Ethics has No Substitute

By Lloyd Adams, SAP

Traditionally, the relationship between companies and their customers has been simple and symbiotic: customers seek solutions, in the form of goods and services, from companies that are eager to provide them. Early in my career, creating personal relationships with customers was the key to success. While the product always opened the door to a prospective customer, authentic and personal relationships proved to be most valued by the customer.

New and emerging technologies have enhanced this relationship, allowing for precision as the gap between company and consumer begins to dissolve in the digital age. Tools and methodology — such as artificial intelligence and machine learning — enable companies to predict customers’ needs and deliver a more personalized consumer experience.

But with these advancements comes a new ethical responsibility for companies. To maintain consumer trust and grow fruitful business relationships, ethical and transparent data treatment must be a priority.

While many companies are leveraging data to benefit consumer experience, others see the temptation to misuse the data and circumvent vital, personalized relationship-building. The European Union adopted GDPR as a means of establishing regulatory footing to deal with the growing amount of data and its commercial uses. While this regulation provides guidelines for companies on data use and misuse, it should not be the only guiding light in the new digital landscape. Rather than forming compromises based on legislation, ethics should be the arbiter of customer data usage, and put pressure on both individual and corporate accountability.

At SAPPHIRE this year, we unveiled a new customer relationship management tool, SAP C/4HANA, that has a slew of capabilities that help us and our customers better understand consumers. We were confident that we could release an offering that is so heavily reliant on data on the heels of a high-profile data privacy scandal — where consumer data was mishandled — because we have a proven record of collaborative partnership with our customers. We’ve only been able to reach this level of hallowed ground by creating mutually beneficial relationships.

Privacy is a basic human right. Companies must prioritize creating data landscapes and digital environments that are not intrusive. Companies must not sacrifice ethical standards for a bottom line. As we prioritize personalized consumer experiences that evolve with customer preferences, we must also prioritize customer privacy and sensitivity. Companies need to hold themselves accountable for their use of privileged information in a time when business strategy can toe the line of corruption.

The key to building strong customer relationships is establishing trust at the onset. Especially on the topic of data, transparency is critical to developing a successful partnership. When you’re upfront with customers about how and why their data is used, they become more likely to work with you.

With the ubiquity of data and the cognitive tools it fuels, companies are eager to implement tools that will benefit their bottom line. However, the companies that will succeed are those that don’t lose sight of customers’ preferences for privacy and transparency, and blend technology and soft skills to create the lasting customer relationships that will prove mutually beneficial.

SAP’s Lloyd Adams Named to PACT Board of Directors

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced Lloyd Adams, senior vice president and managing director of the East Market Unit at SAP North America, will serve on the board of directors for the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT).

“As the leader for SAP in the East, Lloyd Adams will provide the PACT board unique perspective on how Philadelphia companies can and are innovating and growing in the digital era,” said Dean Miller, president and CEO of PACT. “SAP is one of the largest technology employers in the region, and we look forward to continuing to draw upon its expertise.”

Click here to read the full press release distributed by SAP.

SAP Opens Tech Innovation Lab in Delaware County

Global software company SAP opened a new Co-Innovation Lab (COIL) in Newtown Square, Pa., on the site of the company’s North American headquarters.

The lab is intended to develop business applications that focus on emerging technologies such as Big Data analytics. SAP is following a trend that big businesses are making in creating controlled innovation labs.

“Co-innovation builds an agile and vibrant partner ecosystem that drives value through external expertise in digital technologies, hardware and networks,” said Rodolfo Cardenuto, SAP President of global channels & general business in a Philadelphia Magazine article.

Click here to read more.

Now is the time to Inspire, Equip and Empower the next generation of entrepreneurs

By: Dave Spencer, Chief Operating Officer, North America, SAP

We’ve all heard the cliché that small businesses are the engine of the U.S. economy. To be precise, entrepreneurs are the engine of our economy, responsible for most net new job creation and nearly 20 percent of gross job creation.

That’s not all. Entrepreneurs are also a major force of disruption, introducing new ideas and solutions that are changing the way people interact with one another, consume information, and purchase goods and services. They are challenging incumbent leaders and forcing large companies to adapt and innovate more quickly than ever before. An argument could credibly be made that entrepreneurs are a significant reason why this nation remains an economic and technology powerhouse.

And entrepreneurs don’t just exist in start-ups either. Those with an entrepreneurial mindset are incredibly important to established companies too, particularly in the tech sector where we’re faced with a dearth of skilled talent. In order to overcome the innovator’s dilemma it’s critical that companies maintain a full pipeline of entrepreneurial-minded employees who are constantly pushing boundaries, challenging thinking, and ensuring that complacency doesn’t take hold.

Is entrepreneurship ebbing?

If you watch the TV show “Silicon Valley,” read about the exploits of young founders, or pay attention to IPOs, you might think we are living in the age of the entrepreneur, with companies hatching in garages by day and becoming billion-dollar exits that night. But in reality, the percentage of start-ups in the business community has actually been declining. In fact, while new businesses represented 165 of every 1000 companies in the late 1970s, that share had declined to just 85 of every 1000 businesses by 2016.

We can speculate as to reasons for the drop in entrepreneurship, whether it’s the lingering effects from the recession nearly a decade ago, political uncertainty, or any number of other factors that may be curbing the appetite of would-be entrepreneurs. One thing we know for certain is that the steepest dip in entrepreneurship in the last 20 years has been among those aged 20 to 34. Whereas 20 years ago this age group comprised more than a third of new entrepreneurs, in 2014 they accounted for less than a quarter.

We can turn the tide

Whatever the cause, it’s incumbent upon all business leaders to do our part to stimulate an interest in entrepreneurship among Americans at an early age. We can’t wait until people are in the workforce, or have already charted a path for themselves that may or may not include acquiring the necessary education or skillset. Instead, we need to engage with students in their formative middle school years, through high school and into college.

At SAP, we’ve made that a focus, with programs such as the Social Innovation Series with GenYouth, our decade-long partnership with NFTE and their Startup Tech program, and our Early College High School programs around the country. This in addition to funding entrepreneurs through SAP.iO and Sapphire Ventures. What’s become clear through this work with countless young people is that there are three invaluable contributions that all of us, no matter your title or industry, can make to fuel the next generation of entrepreneurs:

  • Inspire – We need to motivate young people to become self-starters. To have the confidence to pursue a path that may be challenging, but can also be incredibly rewarding. We can do this by being present in their classrooms, by mentoring students, by introducing them to the many success stories of entrepreneurs in the region. We also can’t underestimate the power of sharing our own stories, demonstrating the passion that drove us, and imparting the wisdom we’ve gained along the way.


  • Equip – It is a fact of life that some students may have a head start compared to others due to support at home or access to resources. But all young people, regardless of their environment, have the potential to become great. We need to do our part to level the playing field, by helping these students gain access to technology and to the skills they need – whether through school staff, volunteers, or supplemental instructors. Get involved, donate your time and resources and you’ll be amazed at what can be accomplished.


  • Empower – As business leaders, we need to give young people a chance. Encourage them to take risks, put them in positions where they may succeed or – better yet – where they may experience failure. And help them see how incredibly beneficial it is to have those experiences, to pick themselves up and to grow from them. Invite them to hackathons, give them internships, take chances on unconventional hiring. Above all, support them and give them a chance to experience the thrill of entrepreneurship.


If each of us commits to seeking out an opportunity to do just one of these three things in our local community, we can be assured that entrepreneurship will continue to thrive in Philadelphia and beyond.



SAP to Acquire Gigya, Market Leader in Customer Identity and Access Management

SAP to Acquire Gigya, Market Leader in Customer Identity and Access Management
Acquisition to strengthen SAP’s position in omnichannel customer experience
Gigya’s consent-based identity data platform and SAP® Hybris® Profile data matching and enrichment capabilities to be integrated
Identify and opt-in consumers for personalization across all customer touchpoints — customers maintain control of their data
WALLDORF, Germany — September 24, 2017 — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Gigya, a market leader for customer identity and access management. Major independent analyst firms, most recently Forrester Research,1 have positioned Gigya as a top vendor in this field.

Gigya’s customer identity and access management platform helps companies build digital relationships with their customers. Its platform allows companies to manage customers’ profile, preference, opt-in and consent settings, with customers maintaining control of their data at all times. Customers opt in and register via Gigya’s registration-as-a-service, which addresses changing geographical privacy issues and manages compliance requirements such as the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Gigya currently manages 1.3 billion customer identities in order to build identity-driven relationships for its enterprise clients.

Click here to read the full press via Philly Tech News.

Today’s ‘Tech Trends’ to Tomorrow’s Value Innovation

By: Dave Spencer, SVP & Managing Director, East Market Unit, SAP

What were once considered to be tech trends soon to permeate businesses in our future, terms like Machine Learning, Blockchain, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are quickly shifting from ‘trends to watch’ to disruptive forces in the enterprise today.

When it comes to the potential magnitude of their impact, some of the writing is already on the wall. For example, Machine Learning and AI will bring a new level of intelligence to business environments, enabling people to focus on work that adds value, rather than repetitive tasks. Blockchain is poised to become the new protocol for digital assets, exchanges, and identity. And IoT is creating massive amounts of data that can be gleaned for insights to make business processes more connected, efficient and productive.

In today’s innovation race, identifying and acting on technology trends quickly is crucial. However, as technology so often does, these shifts are coming fast and with such complexity that their impacts can be difficult to predict. Many companies don’t know where to even begin, or more importantly how to be sure they won’t waste money on innovation they can’t implement, adapt and scale. Furthermore, innovation far too often occurs in silos and without a core strategy. With this rapid proliferation of new technologies, it’s no surprise that companies may find themselves with a significant disconnect between innovation and business value.

Click here to read the full article.

SAP beefs up its integrated business planning suite

By DC Velocity Staff

Cloud-based software tool adds machine learning and predictive analytics.

German business software vendor SAP SE today announced increased automation capabilities for SAP Integrated Business Planning, its cloud-based solution for inventory and supply optimization; exception-driven response management; sales and operations planning; and demand sensing and forecasting.

The enhancements also include more accurate omnichannel replenishment and product segmentation capabilities, using machine learning intelligence to help customers achieve greater visibility, shorter planning cycles, and more accurate response to changes in supply and demand, SAP said.

SAP Integrated Business Planning is a supply chain planning tool for industries in a range of segments, including automotive, chemicals, consumer products, distribution/retail, high tech, manufacturing, mill products and mining, pharmaceuticals, and services, the company said. Users in all verticals use the tool to unite disconnected data sources and processes; eliminate reliance on ad hoc collaboration over email and Microsoft Excel; and deliver cross-functional decision making with the benefit of “what-if” scenario analysis, according to SAP.

Click here to read the full article.

The Healthcare Industry’s Prescription? Digital Disruption

By Dave Spencer, SAP

The world’s population is projected to grow to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, according to United Nations1 estimates. With many people enjoying longer lives, the healthcare industry will be required to adapt and grow. It’s unclear exactly how the industry will evolve, but unprecedented access to big data and a narrowed focus on the individual patient is beginning to transform healthcare services to become more cost-effective and higher-quality across the board. SAP recently hosted healthcare industry experts and leaders to discuss and explore key trends, including the shift from volume to value-based care, the rise of patient proactivity, the widespread adoption of precision medicine– and, ultimately, what’s in store for the future of healthcare.

Click here to read the full article.