Innovation takes a diverse team of people with different expertise and skill sets working together in proximity to generate the “aha moment.” With the restrictions caused by the pandemic, the SAP AppHaus team developed a way to best maintain collaboration remotely, on-site, and in a mixed or hybrid working model.

This journey of ups and downs from adapting to optimizing the setup has been published in “The Next WoW (Way of Working)”, a free and accessible whitepaper. It describes how continuous co-innovation and collaboration with customers has been possible in changing work environments and how other companies and innovators across the globe can learn and benefit from the experience.

The Next WoW: Keeping Up Business in Changing Environments

When the pandemic disrupted the way we collaborated at the beginning of 2020, it wasn’t an option for the SAP AppHaus team to stop innovating with customers and partners. Instead, they took the opportunity to grow and learn from the situation. SAP’s human-centered approach to innovation, which combines design thinking and architecture thinking, underlines the importance of collaboration among different stakeholders and end users. To enable efficient virtual meetings, SAP AppHaus launched the Innovation Culture Toolkit for virtual collaboration last year. But this was just the beginning.

The SAP AppHaus Network, with its 21 locations spread across the globe, stands for sustainable co-innovation with customers. With a user-centered approach and SAP Business Technology Platform as the solid foundation for custom-tailored innovation in the Intelligent Enterprise, the network brings innovation to life. Previously, the process of innovating has been reliant on physical meetings and workshops with all stakeholders attending, but things have changed during the pandemic. The requirements frequently switched from lockdown scenarios to office re-openings, back to social distancing regulations based on the current health situation – all of which needed spontaneous adaptation.

The Next Way of Working | Experience a full day of hybrid work across the global SAP AppHaus team from SAP AppHaus on Vimeo.

In response, a new hybrid setup had to replace on-site meetings, as reflected in “The Next WoW.” The ongoing collaboration adjustments allowed for numerous successful innovation projects with several companies. Among them are: Iren in Italy, Border States Electric in the U.S., Ottogi in South Korea, SunRice in Australia, Royal Greenland A/S in Greenland, and many more. Some of these were conducted by SAP AppHaus and some by SAP AppHaus Network partners like Bourne Digital and Trifork.

No doubt, the successful completion of these projects was only possible because the new hybrid collaboration models were thoroughly planned. Applying these principles of collaboration enabled SAP AppHaus, its sister team SAP Platform Adoption and Advisory, and other SAP teams to seamlessly support key SAP initiatives such as SAP Discovery Center with its actionable use cases (58 use cases created so far), RISE with SAP, the Intelligent Enterprise, and SAP Business Technology Platform.

SAP Discovery Center – a Self-Service for Customers

Recently, SAP launched a new self-service for customers called SAP Discovery Center. With this low-threshold portal, SAP can help customers quickly adopt SAP Business Technology Platform and turn data into real business value. Due to the disruption of many highly relevant business processes during the pandemic, there is an increased need for flexible solutions that can be integrated and scaled easily.

Screenshot of SAP Discovery Center
Visit SAP Discovery Center and start your journey.

To jump-start the innovation journey, visitors can browse for “missions” that represent different innovative business scenarios. Missions include free-of-charge best practices and step-by-step guidance for implementing business use cases, with well-established support provided by the community and mission experts. With their long-term relationships to customers across the globe, the SAP AppHaus team feeds appropriate innovation scenarios and use cases into this new channel. The knowledge gained, such as technical realization, is turned into a mission and made available for all SAP customers. Examples of these actionable use cases include the invoice management process of Iren (Mission: “Gaining transparency into supplier invoice and purchase order processing”) or the chatbot functionality of Parkland (Mission: “Improve online patient experience using a COVID-19 chatbot”).

Another step towards free accessible knowledge sharing and exchange is the free tier model for SAP BTP, which allows a free-of-cost version for customers to try out before buying. Many use cases are available to try out and test.

RISE with SAP: The Flexibility Needed in Changing Circumstances

Another important SAP offering is RISE with SAP, which offers holistic, on-your-terms, and on-your-timeline transformation support for customers’ journey to the Intelligent Enterprise. This concierge service can provide a tailored path for every customer without any high upfront investments. The offering can remove complexity through a simplified engagement and guided journey into the cloud.

By focusing on SAP Business Technology Platform projects, SAP AppHaus, together with the technical experts of the SAP Platform Adoption & Advisory team, accompany customers’ business transformations. Past projects have shown that this journey can be mastered in a hybrid or remote collaboration setup. The missions of several RISE with SAP projects can also be found in SAP Discovery Center.

Learning Never Stops

The approach of continuous knowledge sharing also includes the exchange of experiences with other innovation teams, regionally and globally. The event series “SAP AppHaus Meets SAP Labs Munich,” which took place this year, featured SAP AppHaus colleagues reporting about best practices for storyboarding, leading innovation teams, SAP’s human-centered approach to innovation, and the Innovation Culture Toolkit. Check out recordings from this event.

Regarding the Innovation Culture Toolkit, the free collection of methods and best practices got a revamp this year and now it’s even easier to apply and benefit from its resources. With that, a few new assets have been published, like the The Lean Architecture Toolkit. The newest kid on the block is the updated material for Spectrum to support the setup of innovation teams within an organization. It is free, downloadable, and printable to make it possible to run Spectrum workshops on your own.

Straight into 2022

“The Next WoW” whitepaper summarizes the ultimate learning and outcome of all co-innovation efforts the global SAP AppHaus team has run during the last year. For several months and together with SAP AppHaus Network and other SAP colleagues, the AppHaus 2.0 team – a team focused on the evolution and development of changed working circumstances – jointly conducted interviews, experiments, and tested new work settings. “The Next WoW” whitepaper is the first public share-out representing the starting point for innovative work scenarios in the future. It is supposed to inspire and support other innovators, companies, and organizations on their way to the next way of working. “The Next WoW” helps sustain the creative work with customers and partners. In brief, it helps customers be successful.

By the looks of it, the SAP AppHaus Network teams are well prepared for a new year to come. They look forward to conducting many more interesting and, yes, challenging customer projects. The new work concept is a living one; it evolves and grows with many more co-innovation and collaboration experiences to come.

Svenja Mueller is communications associate at SAP AppHaus.