Sustainable luxury? Keeping up with the Joneses to save water? SAP HANA Innovation Award winners are changing lifestyles with the new SAP Cloud Platform.

According to Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, disruption is about rejecting the way things are supposed to be and trusting your intuition to create new ways of doing things. It’s really about opening your mind.

Some people, for example, believe that luxury and sustainability are antithetical concepts, but Karma Automotive, a startup automaker based in California, set out to challenge habitual thinking about luxury with a cloud-connected car like no other. Their flagship model, Karma Revero, has an intuitive touchscreen infotainment system that analyzes data to ensure efficiency. The interior is made of reclaimed wood and eco-friendly leather. You can park it at the airport for a week and drive home powered by the sun.

But the most valuable thing about this car is the data it produces. For Karma, the most critical factor for success is making sure that all stakeholders, from the plant manager to service technicians to the vehicle owner, all have the same version of truth when it comes to making decisions about the car.

Starting up in a competitive business, Karma needed speed, power and flexibility for dealing with large amounts of data and for making informed decisions in real-time. They also wanted a user interface that created a positive experience, a platform for seamless customer processes and an MES system for programming machines and tools.

“When we started the company,” says Jim Taylor, chief revenue officer of Karma Automotive, “we needed to get operational quickly. We wanted our enterprise systems to be cloud based and to run quick and simple. After doing the research, we found that SAP was the best solution.”

Consumers Can Change the World

Consumer trends control every aspect of an industry, says Pat Bakey, president of Industries at SAP. “When consumers want something new, the industry transforms to meet their demands.”

This is true in the case of luxury brands in general where consumers and celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio are putting pressure on the industry to address work ethics in the supply chain and generational expectations about sustainability. But it’s not just about luxury brands. Open minds are needed for preserving even our most basic resources.

Take water, for example. Since the dawn of humanity, it has been a symbol of life, fertility, and sustenance. We all know it’s important, but most of us don’t realize how essential it is to the production of every product we use and the food we consume on a daily basis. That’s why water management is one of the top priorities among the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals for a better world. Every drop counts.

Technology for Lifestyle Changes

Fairfax Water, the largest water utility in the state of Virginia, realized that people wanted to compare their own water usage against that of their neighbors.  They also knew that customers were eager to adopt convenient payment options through digital channels, so they set out to engage their customer base by proactively delivering individualized information. But managing large volumes of customer data was a big challenge.

To address this challenge and respond to customer expectations, Fairfax Water developed the Smart Customer Mobile (SCM®) platform providing self service capabilities and empowering customers with a 360° view of all interactions.

Thanks to this solution, customers can now manage their accounts online, see peer comparison and efficiency ranking and can even analyze their historical data to project future usage and costs. Fairfax was able to increase usage efficiency by 11.7 percent and improved customer communication satisfaction by 82 percent.

The platform also enables Fairfax to share educational tips with customers leading to behavioral and lifestyle changes which have increased water savings by 3.5 percent. Finally, digitizing all manual and paper based customer transactions has already saved Fairfax millions of dollars.

The solution, which was built on SAP Cloud Platform and leverages SAP’s core solutions for mobility, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence,  won the 2017 SAP HANA Innovation Award for Industry Disruptor. The other winner in this category was Karma Automotive, also running SAP Cloud Platform as well as SAP S/4HANA, SAP Retailer Portal, and other SAP solutions

“Companies need to explore how to reimagine business processes and business models in the context of their customer’s needs,” says Pat Bakey. “This requires them to have partners with differentiated, open technology, deep expertise in their industry and beyond, as well as unparalleled ecosystem to design their digital future together. This is what SAP can offer, like no other.”