SAP Technology Radar: Putting Emerging Technologies in Context | SAP TechEd in 2020

SAP Technology Radar: Putting Emerging Technologies in Context | SAP TechEd in 2020

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hello. My name is Lutz Gericke, and I'm heading the SAP Technology Radar out of the Innovation Center Network of SAP. And I'm Nicole Helmer, Head of Strategy at the Innovation Center Network of SAP, and welcome to our talk about SAP's Technology Radar which houses SAP's curated position on a number of emerging technologies of relevance to us and our industry. The Tech Radar, as we call it, is an internal resource, so not available for customers to see directly.

So you may start by asking, why share this at TechEd, a publicly facing event? And the answer is simple. We want to share more about how we create structure in a wide-ranging field like technology foresight. We want to share the topics that we cover and how we select and assess them as well as a brief demo of the tool that we use because assessing the impact and opportunities from emerging technologies is relevant to every single business that would like to stay in business.

We all need to anticipate the important changes on the horizon. Our vision for the Technology Radar is to provide people within SAP a convenient reference for SAP's vetted position researched by experts on a variety of emerging technologies, insights that can and should be baked into product-development strategies and conversations with customers. We do not duplicate the great information that is already available in the wild. We're here to provide a look that you cannot find anywhere else. You can't find this on Wikipedia or by doing a Google search because we are looking at this from an SAP-centered view of the world.

So firstly, it's structured. We answered the same questions for every technology, technique, or development. Why is this technology interesting or relevant to SAP and our customers? Are we, SAP, already working with it or on it? How? Where? And why? It's relevant in that we analyze, not just technology with direct effects but those with second-order effects for SAP and our customers. Take 3D printing, for example. We probably won't make 3D printers, but, additive manufacturing could have long-range effects in a number of the industries that we serve, like logistics, and retail and, of course, manufacturing. We need to understand how these things connect with the services that SAP already offers, and the expectations of everyone in our ecosystem to continue to serve the best-run businesses.

Lastly, it's strategic. We continuously consider and evaluate developments to ensure that S&P is prepared for what's next. When technologies are emerging, they always have some sort of limitation. It's too expensive.

It's not performant. It's only relevant in niche use cases. Which of these are relevant to SAP, and how should we then incorporate this technology? How can we find the applications in spite of these challenges that are relevant today, or what can we do to accelerate the resolution of these? We look at all of these things through the Technology Radar.

And in that way, the radar is a vehicle for SAP to do the research necessary to build a robust point of view, to consider the different ways that this technology may influence our future, even if it's not a technology that SAP will or should directly build. And with resources like the Tech Radar, you can rely on our account teams to have the latest information about technology that explains and cuts through the hype. So there's a lot of information about quantum out in the world and what other competitors in this industry might be doing-- how to put that information in context. How does that relate to the things that you're doing, to the things that SAP are doing, and what can you expect from SAP in this field? Plus, you can be confident that an expert is just a phone call away to dig deeper, discuss what you see in your industry in your use cases, and how we might collaborate to test and learn about putting this emerging technology into practice together. Now, we'll briefly run through the process for how topics on the Radar are selected, assessed, and distributed, plus a few topics we cover. Then we'll jump into a quick demo.

So we source potential topics from numerous places. What's the latest in academia? What is the latest on the Gartner hype cycle? What do we see in the marketplace from our competitors, from startups, from venture-capital funds? What are nations investing in? So what is going on at the national level? What are the priorities? What is happening in the World Economic Forum? What mega trends might we observe? What unsolved problems or new needs are we hearing from our customers and our teams? And we do fun scenario-planning exercises to create multiple futures and imagine their implications and what that might require from SAP and from technology solutions in the future. And from this incredibly long list, we select those which seem most near-term relevant or strategic for SAP and our customers and begin the assessment process.

Lutz is now going to take us through the assessment process and the dissemination process in a bit more detail. Handing it over to you, Lutz. Thank you very much, Nicole.

So I would like to continue by speaking about the how-we-assess part. Generally speaking, there are three pillars that we have here. We have the qualitative assessment which is basically the body of text that you can see on the Radar. Then we have a quantitative rating part and a component of vetting this point of view that we should do. So firstly, the qualitative assessment.

It's, as I said, a body of text with three parts. The introduction gives you some motivation of the topic, why do we need this? and the problem statement. So what kind of issue does it address? Which problem does it solve? Secondly, it's about the general assessment, and that's an assessment of the readiness of the technology. It gives an idea of the state of the art in research but also the competitive landscape and highlights the benefit of this technology and the application of this technology.

And the third part is the impact-on-SAP part, which is obviously the most important part for us here. It highlights the potential influence factors on SAP and its ecosystem, the very concrete areas of application, and also lists use cases where this technology could be applied. The second pillar, the quantitative rating part, is split into four dimensions.

The first dimension is the expected market readiness that we see. So it's our expectation that we see when will this technology be applied at scale? And then three dimensions on a scale from very high to very low: fit to SAP's strategy, the ease of implementation, and the disruptive potential. The third pillar, Nicole, has already mentioned it. It's the component of vetting, and it's twofold. Before the publication part-- so before we put this article on the Radar tool, we have some targeted efforts to find very diverse viewpoints of this technology topic from experts across SAP. And then we apply a standardized peer-review process to come to a high quality article in the end.

And if the article is then on the Radar, the journey really starts because it's put up for companywide discussion. So we are absolutely welcoming everybody from within SAP to disagree with the opinions that we share here to add new insights to see things differently and articulate it. Next up, how do we distribute the content? And Nicole already mentioned it. It is an internal tool, but there are different publications and formats that are also publicly available. And there's also a variety of possibilities to engage with us as a customer or a partner.

So some examples-- you have the Horizons by SAP magazine where we also highlight some of the technologies that we see as emerging. On the ICN, the Innovation Center Network, website, you can also see a couple of articles on up-to-date technologies. And you might already have gotten in contact indirectly with the Radar content, because plenty of colleagues in SAP use the information to be up to date for, for example, customer meetings or analyst calls.

We see ourselves as moderators and somehow observers of the emerging technologies out there and try to keep the information on the Radar as up to date as possible and, to some extent, also complete. We try to achieve this by bringing together SAP internal experts, and representatives from the customer side and from partners and so on. And we've had a lot of conversations in the past, starting from a very broad conversation on emerging technologies guided by the question, what is on your radar? and later leading to very concrete exchanges on particular topics. That was very interesting to see. But let me mention some of the topic examples.

You can see a list of examples. And currently, we have over 40 technologies on the Radar. What you can see from the examples is that the variety of topics is relatively broad. So what we want to try to achieve is to have topics on the radar that are roughly at the same level of granularity. That means that we are trying to see, well, the broader technology concept rather than the single implementation.

So that means we want to draw a map of use cases and applications for each technology and be able to articulate a concise viewpoint and a strategic ambition for SAP. And also one factor that is very different between technologies is the temporal dimension. And to be very clear here, we do not select topics based on the criterion when will they be ready to use? but we rather try to formulate it as an information for the reader when this technology is going to be expected to be adopted on a broader scale. Next up, let's have a look at the tool in a short demo. Let's have a closer look at the SAP Technology Radar tool.

It is an SAP internal website that invites colleagues from across the company to contribute their knowledge and expertise in order to create a joint perspective of an emerging technology topic. First of all, we have two entities in the tool, the technologies and inspirations. Technologies are those assessment articles that we have been talking about, and inspirations are suggestions from the community into the network of experts across the company to work together on understanding, assessing, and contextualizing a technology topic. The most prominent part of the tool is, of course, the radar visualization.

Here you find those currently 40 technologies lined by topic segment and the four assessment criteria-- disruptive potential, ease of implementation, fit to SAP strategy, and market readiness. Those criteria are rated from high to low, and for market readiness, we give an estimate in years. When hovering over one of the topics in this example, brain-computer interfaces, you can see the connections between the different technologies. So you can see that brain-computer interfaces have something to do with biometrics, and also emotional AI. Let's have a closer look at the topic.

The article outlines three major sections: an introduction explaining the technology and giving context, a general assessment highlighting challenges and opportunities, and the impact-on-SAP section where it is about the effect this technology may have on SAP, its partners, and customers. Those intensely researched and discussed assessments will lead to the rating as a summary of the findings. Here you can see that brain-computer interfaces may be highly disruptive for human-computer interaction, but it is still not ready for use for everyone. How can you follow up on a topic? You can either contact the mentioned expert directly or you can leave a comment below the article. So let's click on the 'Rate' tab.

Every user of the tool is also happily invited to leave a rating. This basically means to overrule the expert rating with a so-called community rating. You can use the sliders and give a reason for, why you see, for example, the topic's maturity a little bit differently than the original expert. All the different channels combined together are feedback that will help in reviewing the articles on the Radar and also help making the information more up to date, more exhaustive, and more differentiated. And, well, the SAP Technology Radar is a community initiative across all of SAP. Now, ultimately, the most important question of this presentation for you may be the question how to learn more and how to engage with us.

We see three modes of interaction. Firstly, you may be interested in a conversation about the process of technology scouting and foresight and may want to share experiences and get feedback on your methods and tools. So we believe we all share the same goal, that we try to look a bit into the future. And we would love to share our and hear about your approaches for technology foresight.

Secondly, if you have already identified a technology topic that is already of interest for you because you already are working on it or that you consider important for future developments, we can establish focused discussions and a mutual exchange on particular topics. And thirdly, there may also be topics where we can identify potential for collaboration that may be interesting for use cases on the SAP customer side brought together with teams, for example, from the Innovation Center Network who would like to test drive their research-like topics. To summarize this, I want to say or we want to say that although the SAP Technology Radar is an SAP internal initiative, there are also plenty of ways to engage with us because, ultimately, we want to build a community around it beyond company borders. And with that, I would like to tell you a bit more about where you can find more information-- for example, on the Innovation Center Network website, or this is also the location where you can find the Horizons by SAP magazine. If you want to continue your learning experience at TechEd 2020, here are some more links where you can find more information.

And with that, I'd like to thank you very much for attending this session, and we would be happy to get in touch with you on the emerging technology topics that we have all on our radar. [MUSIC PLAYING]

2020-12-18 11:20

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