Don’t start with a technology and try to apply it to your business. Start with your business problem and then find the technologies able to quickly provide solutions.

This was a sampling of the advice that experts shared during a roundtable at the recent SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Annual Conference.

L to R: SAP’s Mike Flannagan, MAPAL’s Matti Maier, Caterpillar’s Marty Groover, SIAG’s Stefan Gasslitter, Insight Enterprises’ Bruce Petillo.

“Many customers feel like they are starting their digital transformation alone and from scratch, but this isn’t the case with us. SAP Leonardo is about the business, not technology,” said Mike Flannagan, senior vice president of Analytics at SAP. “It’s about finding the common industry problems, packaging solutions and services to address them, and making them available as accelerators so customers can speed up innovation.”

Here’s how four companies are using SAP solutions on their digital journeys. Hailing from different industries, each of these companies is united by disruption, intent transforming their business.

At #SAPPHIRENOW, four companies shared how they are using SAP solutions on their digital journeys

Real-Time Tools Put MAPAL on Top

Metal cutting tools may be part of traditional manufacturing, but MAPAL has pioneered the development of intuitive iOS apps harnessing the power of Internet of Things (IoT) on SAP Cloud Platform. By identifying every tool with a serial number and connecting sensors tracking its usage and sharing the data across the company’s ERP system, MAPAL is turning real-time information to competitive advantage.

“We’re solving one of our biggest problems in the factory, which is tool management for breakage, loss, safe usage and maintenance,” said Matti Maier, Team Lead for Cloud Development at MAPAL. “We are able to track tools – where they are at any moment and what condition they are in – so we can use the tool for as long as it’s supposed to last. Managers using their iPad instantly know when tools need regrinding or replacement, and how well each tool is performing over time. Having that timely information is a huge competitive advantage allowing us to act quickly.”

Live Factory Powers Business Value

Every buyer wants an Amazon-like buying experience, and customers of Caterpillar’s high-end machinery are no exception. Marty Groover, Operational Technology Leader at Caterpillar, described how his company is co-innovating with SAP to ultimately create a self-compensating, automated factory for the most value from people and machines.

“We’re creating a digital thread from our products in the manufacturing facility to our customers with our live factory that uses SAP Digital Manufacturing Insights and Vehicle Insights, and the SAP Digital Boardroom,” said Groover. “Sensors on forklifts are just the beginning. We’re also doing predictive maintenance using sensor collected data from our machines. With this kind of machine learning, we can understand where something will fail before it happens. Meanwhile, SAP Digital Boardroom is driving strategic information down to the tactical, operational level, feeding real-time insights for a shop floor to top floor mentality.”

Blockchain Builds Secure Trust

Blockchain is among the innovations promising government agencies and citizens unheard-of levels of trust and program efficiencies. Stefan Gasslitter, Head of SIAG and CIO of Bozen, Italy, talked about how distributed ledgers, meaning blocks of protected, secure data in the cloud supporting transactions between multiple parties could generate a new era of process efficiency in any industry.

“Governments like ours are using hundreds of different, disconnected software programs, and different agencies don’t trust each other for data, forcing them to ask citizens for information multiple times,” he said. “We’ve built a proof of concept on SAP Cloud Platform using blockchain to reduce IT landscape complexity and reduce costs. This would be a huge change.”

360-Degree Customer View Transforms Experience

Fresh from his company’s decision to select SAP Hybris Marketing, Bruce Petillo, Marketing Director at Insight Enterprises, characterized having a digital strategy as a differentiator.

“The biggest benefit is the ability to have all your data in one place including CRM, ERP, social feeds, analytics from third parties, and behavioral data from our clients when they visit our website or conduct transactions with us. We can use that data to make better decisions that provide a better experience for them,” said Petillo. “Whether it’s online chat, email, voice or in-person at an event, we can engage with customers where they prefer, making every one-on-one encounter based on a better understanding of what their needs are.”

Petillo was just as enthusiastic about machine learning capabilities in SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer. “With machine learning we can automate transactions on our ecommerce platform, freeing up our sales rep’s time for more meaningful conversations with customers to solve their business problems together,” he said.

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