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SAP cracks open customer habits

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SAP has announced new integrated digital enterprise technologies that are intended to transform the relationships companies have with their customers.

SAP plans to unleash a powerful portfolio of SAP hybris tools that are envisioned to enable in-the-moment customer profiling, digital commerce and community development, empowering an organization’s front office to stay connected with the frequently shifting needs of its customers and prospects and enabling companies to go beyond customer relationship management (CRM) into a new era of digital connectedness, customer service and support.

“Companies can no longer rely on the costly, siloed systems of yesterday to engage with their customers, who are savvy, multidevice digital natives. They want their needs understood and met — right now and every time,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP SE. “Legacy cloud-based CRM technologies create business complexity because their foundations predate the rise of social media and mobility. Companies today need innovative, integrated solutions that simplify the front office, making them easy to do business with and fostering greater customer engagement.”

In today’s digital world, businesses need to connect the front office and back office in real time — linking people, inventory, supply chain, pricing and customers together. This means that the new front office must go beyond the traditional marketing, sales and service automation functions and include integrated, real-time personalization, Web and mobile commerce, social customer service and more. Planned tools from SAP are envisioned to simplify the front office, helping businesses get a single, contextual view of their customers while giving each customer a consistent, personalized experience across all channels.

SAP hybris Profile Aimed to Derive Insights into Customer Habits

The planned SAP hybris Profile solution is intended to serve as the customer-centric foundation of the system, capturing all interactions, contexts and behaviors to create a continually evolving and dynamic profile of the customer. With these insights, the system is envisioned to surface actions for real-time, one-to-one engagement with every customer across all touchpoints. Specifically, SAP hybris Profile is planned to:

  • Create a real-time dynamic profile of customers
  • Capture customer interactions, contexts and behaviors
  • Enable businesses to deliver a new wave of customer experience capabilities
  • Continuously enrich the profile
  • Feature specialized design for maximum flexibility and massive scale

“The Yankees use the most modern technology available to engage with our fans, wherever and however we can,” said Mike Lane, vice president and CIO, Technology & Broadcasting, for the Yankees. “Solutions like the ones SAP envisions can help sports organizations deliver consistent and contextual experiences across every channel and touchpoint, which is exactly what our fans have come to expect from us.”

SAP hybris Customer Experience for Cross-Touchpoint Experiences

SAP hybris Customer Experience software is envisioned to be the omnichannel delivery capability of the future, offering the visual contextualization of the customer’s experience. The solution is planned to offer:

·       A next-generation, responsive omnichannel content management system

·       Management and delivery of dynamic, targeted, consistent content, offers, products and service interactions

·       A focus on cross-touchpoint real-time optimization and context

·       A tool set for customers and partners to develop experiences for a variety of uses

·       Integration with other SAP hybris products for simplified deployment and management of integrated experiences

“We are now in an era where customer engagement is a top-of-mind initiative for businesses across the spectrum,” said Paul Greenberg, president of The 56 Group and author of CRM at the Speed of Light. “Reimagining CRM, finding ways to interact in a more personalized way with customers and being able to understand how a customer is thinking and acting so that intelligent actions can be taken is the way of this new world. SAP’s focus on this is smart — very smart in fact — and makes the choices that customers have when it comes to technology that much richer.”

SAP hybris as a Service on SAP HANA Cloud Platform Envisioned as Platform for Innovation

Intended to become the modular business microservices layer for the planned SAP hybris front office on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP hybris as a Service is envisioned to help customers to stay ahead of the curve by providing community, autonomy and simplicity. Planned features include:

·       Innovation in the cloud and integration with SAP hybris applications

·       An ecosystem of solution providers accelerating innovation with low cost and low barriers to implementation

·       Microservices to administrate functionalities

·       A cloud delivery model for frictionless and cost-efficient consumption of functionality

“SAP hybris as a Service is envisioned to offer a wide range of diverse business services, further simplifying the front office and driving a stronger community for customer engagement,” said Scott Mager, customer engagement and commerce practice leader, Deloitte Digital. “SAP hybris as a Service is intended to offer easily digestible packages for fast integration, and to help us take the companies we work with beyond CRM.”

Broad Ecosystem Support 

Recognizing the opportunity, many leading SAP partners are at the forefront to help turn the SAP vision into a reality. Thousands of professionals from global consultancies and agencies such as Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte Digital, IBM and Publicis.Sapient are being trained and certified on SAP solutions for customer engagement and commerce. SAP is also collaborating closely with a strong set of software partners, including DocuSign, GENBAND, OpenText and Sprinklr, with the aim of integrating key technologies with its newest solutions to unlock even more value for its customers in the areas of electronic signatures, real-time communications and the management of digital assets and social campaigns.

“We started Nestlé’s journey into personalized consumer and customer experiences, and we are orchestrating this complex digital ecosystem on the foundation of SAP solutions for customer engagement,” said Filippo Catalano, chief digital operations officer, Nestlé. “This enables us to engage our brand prospects throughout their own unique journey, from insights to advocacy, building our great brands further via real-time, tailored interactions, on a suite of scalable solutions that better serve our digital ambitions.”

SAP HANA Cloud Platform is an open platform as a service providing unique in-memory database and business application services that enable customers to easily extend SAP applications and integrate with other cloud applications. To support the growing demand for innovative business process differentiators beyond CRM, SAP now offers the SAP Cloud for Customer solution bundled with SAP HANA Cloud Platform to enable companies to rapidly implement projects for fast ROI.

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Prepare your cam to capture the Blood Moon

On 27 July 2018, South Africans can witness a total lunar eclipse, as the earth’s shadow completely covers the moon.

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Also known as a blood or red moon, a total lunar eclipse is the most dramatic of all lunar eclipses and presents an exciting photographic opportunity for any aspiring photographer or would-be astronomers.

“A lunar eclipse is a rare cosmic sight. For centuries these events have inspired wonder, interest and sometimes fear amongst observers. Of course, if you are lucky to be around when one occurs, you would want to capture it all on camera,” says Dana Eitzen, Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive at Canon South Africa.

Canon ambassador and acclaimed landscape photographer David Noton has provided his top tips to keep in mind when photographing this occasion.   In South Africa, the eclipse will be visible from about 19h14 on Friday, 27 July until 01h28 on the Saturday morning. The lunar eclipse will see the light from the sun blocked by the earth as it passes in front of the moon. The moon will turn red because of an effect known as Rayleigh Scattering, where bands of green and violet light become filtered through the atmosphere.

A partial eclipse will begin at 20h24 when the moon will start to turn red. The total eclipse begins at about 21h30 when the moon is completely red. The eclipse reaches its maximum at 22h21 when the moon is closest to the centre of the shadow.

David Noton advises:

  1. Download the right apps to be in-the-know

The sun’s position in the sky at any given time of day varies massively with latitude and season. That is not the case with the moon as its passage through the heavens is governed by its complex elliptical orbit of the earth. That orbit results in monthly, rather than seasonal variations, as the moon moves through its lunar cycle. The result is big differences in the timing of its appearance and its trajectory through the sky. Luckily, we no longer need to rely on weight tables to consult the behaviour of the moon, we can simply download an app on to our phone. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is useful for giving moonrise and moonset times, bearings and phases; while the Photopills app gives comprehensive information on the position of the moon in our sky.  Armed with these two apps, I’m planning to shoot the Blood Moon rising in Dorset, England. I’m aiming to capture the moon within the first fifteen minutes of moonrise so I can catch it low in the sky and juxtapose it against an object on the horizon line for scale – this could be as simple as a tree on a hill.

 

  1. Invest in a lens with optimal zoom  

On the 27th July, one of the key challenges we’ll face is shooting the moon large in the frame so we can see every crater on the asteroid pockmarked surface. It’s a task normally reserved for astronomers with super powerful telescopes, but if you’ve got a long telephoto lens on a full frame DSLR with around 600 mm of focal length, it can be done, depending on the composition. I will be using the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Ext. 1.4 x lens.

  1. Use a tripod to capture the intimate details

As you frame up your shot, one thing will become immediately apparent; lunar tracking is incredibly challenging as the moon moves through the sky surprisingly quickly. As you’ll be using a long lens for this shoot, it’s important to invest in a sturdy tripod to help capture the best possible image. Although it will be tempting to take the shot by hand, it’s important to remember that your subject is over 384,000km away from you and even with a high shutter speed, the slightest of movements will become exaggerated.

  1. Integrate the moon into your landscape

Whilst images of the moon large in the frame can be beautifully detailed, they are essentially astronomical in their appeal. Personally, I’m far more drawn to using the lunar allure as an element in my landscapes, or using the moonlight as a light source. The latter is difficult, as the amount of light the moon reflects is tiny, whilst the lunar surface is so bright by comparison. Up to now, night photography meant long, long exposures but with cameras such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV now capable of astonishing low light performance, a whole new nocturnal world of opportunities has been opened to photographers.

  1. Master the shutter speed for your subject 

The most evocative and genuine use of the moon in landscape portraits results from situations when the light on the moon balances with the twilight in the surrounding sky. Such images have a subtle appeal, mood and believability.  By definition, any scene incorporating a medium or wide-angle view is going to render the moon as a tiny pin prick of light, but its presence will still be felt. Our eyes naturally gravitate to it, however insignificant it may seem. Of course, the issue of shutter speed is always there; too slow an exposure and all we’ll see is an unsightly lunar streak, even with a wide-angle lens.

 

On a clear night, mastering the shutter speed of your camera is integral to capturing the moon – exposing at 1/250 sec @ f8 ISO 100 (depending on focal length) is what you’ll need to stop the motion from blurring and if you are to get the technique right, with the high quality of cameras such as the Canon EOS 5DS R, you might even be able to see the twelve cameras that were left up there by NASA in the 60’s!

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How Africa can embrace AI

Currently, no African country is among the top 10 countries expected to benefit most from AI and automation. But, the continent has the potential to catch up with the rest of world if we act fast, says ZOAIB HOOSEN, Microsoft Managing Director.

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To play catch up, we must take advantage of our best and most powerful resource – our human capital. According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), more than 60 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 25.

These are the people who are poised to create a future where humans and AI can work together for the good of society. In fact, the most recent WEF Global Shapers survey found that almost 80 percent of youth believe technology like AI is creating jobs rather than destroying them.

Staying ahead of the trends to stay employed

AI developments are expected to impact existing jobs, as AI can replicate certain activities at greater speed and scale. In some areas, AI could learn faster than humans, if not yet as deeply.

According to Gartner, while AI will improve the productivity of many jobs and create millions more new positions, it could impact many others. The simpler and less creative the job, the earlier, a bot for example, could replace it.

It’s important to stay ahead of the trends and find opportunities to expand our knowledge and skills while learning how to work more closely and symbiotically with technology.

Another global study by Accenture, found that the adoption of AI will create several new job categories requiring important and yet surprising skills. These include trainers, who are tasked with teaching AI systems how to perform; explainers, who bridge the gap between technologist and business leader; and sustainers, who ensure that AI systems are operating as designed.

It’s clear that successfully integrating human intelligence with AI, so they co-exist in a two-way learning relationship, will become more critical than ever.

Combining STEM with the arts

Young people have a leg up on those already in the working world because they can easily develop the necessary skills for these new roles. It’s therefore essential that our education system constantly evolves to equip youth with the right skills and way of thinking to be successful in jobs that may not even exist yet.

As the division of tasks between man and machine changes, we must re-evaluate the type of knowledge and skills imparted to future generations.

For example, technical skills will be required to design and implement AI systems, but interpersonal skills, creativity and emotional intelligence will also become crucial in giving humans an advantage over machines.

“At one level, AI will require that even more people specialise in digital skills and data science. But skilling-up for an AI-powered world involves more than science, technology, engineering and math. As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology and human development courses can teach critical, philosophical and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions.” This is according to Microsoft president, Brad Smith, and EVP of AI and research, Harry Shum, who recently authored the book “The Future Computed”, which primarily deals with AI and its role in society.

Interestingly, institutions like Stanford University are already implementing this forward-thinking approach. The university offers a programme called CS+X, which integrates its computer science degree with humanities degrees, resulting in a Bachelor of Arts and Science qualification.

Revisiting laws and regulation

For this type of evolution to happen, the onus is on policy makers to revisit current laws and even bring in new regulations. Policy makers need to identify the groups most at risk of losing their jobs and create strategies to reintegrate them into the economy.

Simultaneously, though AI could be hugely beneficial in areas such as curbing poor access to healthcare and improving diagnoses for example, physicians may avoid using this technology for fear of malpractice. To avoid this, we need regulation that closes the gap between the pace of technological change and that of regulatory response. It will also become essential to develop a code of ethics for this new ecosystem.

Preparing for the future

With the recent convergence of a transformative set of technologies, economies are entering a period in which AI has the potential overcome physical limitations and open up new sources of value and growth.

To avoid missing out on this opportunity, policy makers and business leaders must prepare for, and work toward, a future with AI. We must do so not with the idea that AI is simply another productivity enhancer. Rather, we must see AI as the tool that can transform our thinking about how growth is created.

It comes down to a choice of our people and economies being part of the technological disruption, or being left behind.

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