The future belongs to “caring” bots

The future belongs to “caring” bots

Consumers are increasingly aware of the presence of bots, especially voice bots, in their interactions with companies. It is expected that within the next three years:

The participation of bots in customer conversations will rise by up to 40%.
Virtual assistants will revolutionize customer relationships.
Twenty-five percent of customers will prefer to use a virtual assistant instead of a company website.

These trends are highlighted in a recent study by Capgemini, Conversational Commerce: Why Consumers Are Embracing Voice Assistants in Their Lives, conducted among 5,000 clients in Germany, France, Great Britain, and the United States.

Halo, Hello, Hola, Bonjour … artificial intelligence speaking!

Of course, this growing phenomenon hides artificial intelligence in the form of cognitive capabilities, for example the ability to recognize voice, understand the meaning of phrases in natural language (natural language understanding), and improve accuracy through machine learning. Thanks to progress in understanding natural language, chatbots have become very effective and sometimes even indispensable. These intelligent assistants can work non-stop, are never tired and react immediately, and gradually increase their role in enterprises. Over the last several months, most large companies have started developing their own bots.
However, the implementation of human–machine interaction is a rather complex process. Some people imagine that a bot is like a magical black box, “please install it and it will work.” But in fact, you first need to design the desired interaction. Think about what kind of experience the user is supposed to have with the bot, how will this experience help the user achieve their business goals, and how will it be a better experience than what the user is used to. Next, you need to develop dialogue flows, determine the bot’s personality, and integrate it into existing communication channels in the enterprise (for instance Skype, Slack, Teams). Then, you need to design and train natural language processing (NLP) models. This will enable the bot to understand the context of a dialogue and recognize user intent (for example, “I have a problem logging in,” “I want to order a pizza.”). It is necessary to supervise the machine learning process and make sure that the model understands the user. And, you need people to achieve this – UX managers, data scientists, AI developers, chatbot content designers, testers, project managers, and architects.
Do bots perform better than people?
Early experiences with machine learning were quite challenging. You had to train the model with hundreds of thousands of photos of an object (such as a chair) for it to be recognized at an acceptable level. However, the speed of machine learning grows exponentially. In 2018 for example, OpenAI defeated a team of former professional players in Dota 2. It learned by playing 180 years of games against itself for several months.
Machine learning algorithms have surpassed humans in the recognition of objects. As described in the artificial intelligence index 2017 Annual Report, these algorithms were able to achieve more than 97% accuracy, while humans remained statistically at 95%. Business tools such as Microsoft and Amazon are 95% accurate in speech recognition, in other words statistically at the same level as humans. At the I/O conference last year, Google presented a voice bot making an appointment with a hairdresser. The conversation between the bot and the hairdresser went quite smoothly, so much so that the hairdresser did not realize that she was talking to a machine. This April, Google released this functionality in the US for making restaurant reservations.
Today bots are available on mobile and desktop devices and via multiple channels, such as mobile apps, websites, social media platforms, instant messengers, and smart speakers. They are used in many industries. Large retail companies use them to help with shopping, check order statuses, proactively suggest other products, and automatically drive cross-selling opportunities. In the banking sector, where digital assistants already support the most frequent inquiries or customer complaints, bots are a hot topic. For example, the British  bank Barclays allows its consumers in Africa to transfer funds via smartphone with simple voice commands: “Hey Siri, send Sara £15 with Barclays.” Bots are also present in offices. For example, L’Oréal employs bots in HR for recruiting, while Capgemini, includes them in digital workplace service offerings, such as the Connected Employee Experience, which links workplace, office, and employees.
Digital brand identity is what makes a caring bot
The real challenge is to build a bot with an identity that reflects the brand or the culture of the organization. Such a bot must have its own personality. It has to know how to communicate (using either formal or less formal language), look appealing look, and last but not least, it should have a name! The linguistic aspect, for instance company-specific terminology, is also important. In one organization, an employee can be referred to as an  “employee,” while in another “colleague,” or “associate” is more appropriate. Such details have to be identified and embedded in the bot upfront. Also, it turns out that users don’t necessarily want to interact only with other humans. They’d rather have the option to contact a company with a question at midnight for instance, and get an answer straight away. They expect 24/7 availability and value from every interaction. What’s important is the choice, however. Users have to be informed that they’re speaking with a bot or that they’re being handed back over to a human operator.
Capgemini research shows that clients who have adopted bots in their organization report an increase in customer satisfaction. However, it’s important to remember that people don’t really like change. They need to be freed from preconceived notions and convinced of the change at hand. Some form of change management, for instance Capgemini’s Digital Adoption methodology which effectively engages customers in the use of bots, can facilitate this process. The expectation of being served by a human declines in the face of an always-available and “caring” bot whose personality and communication style aligns with the company brand and culture. It’s no wonder that more and more organizations, conscious of the expectations of their customers and of the potential savings to be gained, turn to customer service bots.
To learn more about it, contact me.

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Overarching macro trends are driving changes within the insurance risk landscape

Overarching macro trends are driving changes within the insurance risk landscape

These new and emerging risks may seriously affect policyholders’ lives, health, property, and business, which could drive up business interruption, liability, property damage, and life and health claims. Insurers must recognize the impact of emerging risks on customers and adapt offerings to meet policyholder needs better.
Across the globe, customers say they feel the impact of these macro trends in their lives, according to the World Insurance Report (WIR) 2019. The report also explores interesting demographic and geographic variations in how customers perceive these trends.
Emerging risks are transforming the insurance risk landscape

Commercial customers feel the impact of evolving macro trends more keenly than individual policyholders
While both business and personal customers are unanimous in their view of the significance of evolving macro trends, more than 40% of business customers said macro trends would impact them considerably as compared with nearly 28% of individual policyholders.
Commercial customers across the globe expressed concern regarding risks related to the changing business environment and cybersecurity while individual policyholders polled for the WIR 2019 overwhelmingly indicated concern about moderate to high exposure to emerging risks associated with healthcare costs and medical matters.
What could these risks mean for insurers?
The changing business and regulatory environment indicate the need for insurers to more closely monitor and regularly update policy coverage as well as terms and conditions.
Similarly, new medical and health concerns, compounded by escalating healthcare costs, may spur life and health claims. The result could drive health payers to a preventive model of care that leverages technology to monitor members and provide timely care interventions.
Customers perceive high potential impact from fast-paced technological advancements
Nearly a third of individual customers and close to 47% of business customers perceive significant risk impact from technological advancements. In fact, respondents in Europe, Latin America, and Asia-pacific (excluding Japan) rated technological advancements as having the highest impact on their lives or businesses.
New risks emerging from technological developments such as the increasing use of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) offer credence to customer concerns. For instance, automotive insurance could transition from personal-line to commercial-line insurance as autonomous vehicles gain popularity.
As cybercrime and data breaches receive increasing attention, 83% of WIR 2019 individual respondents said they were concerned about exposure to cyber attacks. However, only 3% currently have comprehensive coverage as part of their insurance. This gap reveals a significant opportunity to develop propositions that meet policyholder needs and concerns.
Insurers could also face an increase in liability claims as well as heightened severity of claims pertaining to AI systems’ damage, which could require enhanced actuarial models to better estimate losses from AI-based systems.
Emerging markets face higher exposure to new and emerging risks
The reported impact of macro trends is significantly higher in emerging markets when compared to developed markets, with 40% of individuals and 51% of businesses from emerging markets feeling exposed to the impact of evolving macro trends as compared with only 23% individuals and 35% businesses from developed markets.[1]
These figures may indicate unease among emerging-market customers based on their regions’ low preparedness to face challenges posed by new risks.
Thus, we see that the impact of emerging risks is inevitable and customers from around the world are feeling its effects.
However, a cause for concern is the fact that a vast majority of customers do not feel adequately covered for these risks. Less than 15% of individual customers and less than 25% of business customers said they were covered comprehensively for any of the emerging risks analyzed in the WIR 2019.
Clearly, a coverage gap exists, but is it top of mind for insurers? Not exactly. Less than 45% of insurance executives surveyed acknowledged that life and health-related risks are driving demand for new products, and less than 20% recognized the demand impact around personal property risks. Although commercial space alignment was somewhat better, a significant coverage gap remains.
How can insurers recognize customer needs better and uncover opportunities presented by the coverage gap? Download your copy of the World Insurance Report 2019 to learn how insurers can build key capabilities that address emerging-risk needs.
[1] Emerging markets referenced in the WIR 2019 refer to surveyed countries in Latin America and Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan).

The Legal Separation of National Grid ETO and ESO; Opportunity for the transmission customers

The Legal Separation of National Grid ETO and ESO; Opportunity for the transmission customers

On April 1, 2019, Britain’s electricity industry learned that a key transformation program had gone live. The National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) had formally and legally separated from the Electricity Transmission Operator (ETO) and become an independent ESO.
Being part of the Capgemini team that helped deliver this monumental transformation over the past two years has given me insight into its implications for the industry and the benefits that an independent ESO would bring to the UK energy consumer.
As with every change, there are opportunities and risks – and a lot of attention across the sector and within the National Grid has been focused on the post-separation of the ESO.  In this blog, I would like to concentrate on what I believe are the many new opportunities for the ETO as result of the legal separation, particularly within the customer space.
A simple analogy
Who owns the ultimate product?  This is a question I have asked colleagues in both the ESO and ETO many times.
Let’s take the transmission connections as an example. In this context, the final connection of a customer to the transmission system is a product or service delivered by the ETO. Granted, the customer’s contractual relationship does remain with the ESO, but the product is ultimately what the transmission operator produces and offers. Taking this perspective and recognizing it, has important implications. It means that the ETO needs to have a view of, and proactively manage and innovate the end-to-end customer journeys.
If “connections” were akin to a car, then the transmission operator is the designer, producer, and marketer of the car while the ESO is the “dealer” and the point of “sales and distribution.” What this shows is that as product owners the National Grid ET, as well as the other ETOs, need to take the lead on customer management, customer experience, and customer engagement. They should do this by influencing the ESO, understanding constraints, removing them, and steering initiatives that allow them to become more customer oriented.
An independent ESO allows this perspective to become more emphasized and visible. The ETOs, and especially the National Grid ET, need to capitalize.
A central view of the customer
Legal separation has given the National Grid ET more accountability over customers than ever before. And so the old maxim “the customer is always right” will need to be taken more seriously.  ETOs can no longer be asset and engineering companies, they need to be customer service organizations.
Customers want their products faster, cheaper, and they want more innovation and flexibility.  This has never been more true in the electricity industry than it is today. The fact that the industry is decentralizing means the ETOs’ customers are becoming more varied and are increasing in numbers. Regulatory and non-regulatory businesses become customers and suppliers of each other. Adjacent industries begin to collaborate.
For the ETOs, the customer mindset cannot be limited to the commercial departments. Leading the customer experience, engagement, and insight needs to be driven centrally, and be done from an end-to-end journey perspective. It doesn’t matter which department this central function sits in, as long as it has a holistic view and is able to integrate all functions that have customer touchpoints along a single vision, mindset, and ways of working. In short, a single customer journey. One could even envisage a Chief Customer Officer in the future for the ETOs as they seek to compete. With Ofgem promoting competitive onshore transmission, and DNOs becoming competitors as a result of decentralization, this could just be around the corner.
The benefits of implementing this approach are profound. It allows ETOs to use multiple channels of engagement effectively, departments begin to collaborate, and data is collected for a central hub to provide a stronger insight. When it comes to behaviors and ways of working, customers begin to see a significant difference, as both operational centers and commercial teams begin to speak the same language.
Industry collaboration
The SO-TO codes and other industry codes are designed to ensure that the ETOs work with the ESO in a transparent, fair, timely, and effective manner. However, times are changing and these codes were designed for a centralized, large actor, sector expert, and low customer volume industry.  Energy transition is disrupting the landscape with an increasing number of decentralized, diverse, and numerous new actors. These codes need to adapt and the ESO has a program to drive this.
Legal separation has set a critical new platform for this step to be taken. There are varied views about how the codes should transform, or even if they are required at all. Without a doubt, there is industry collaboration required here, and however it evolves, there are two key requirements:

Let’s start immediately. By its nature and given the complexity of stakeholder map, the work needs to start now. There are benefits from removing redundant, less valuable processes, and shuffling accountabilities where they best reside.
Let’s ensure that we build the codes with a view on how they would enable the ETOs to take more accountability for customers, have a larger participation in driving consumer benefit, identify value and deliver on best experience. Codes need to be written to support end-to-end customer journeys.

Capabilities and transformations
I believe the biggest opportunity legal separation has brought the ETOs and specifically the National Grid ET, is the chance to get closer to customers and build and deliver on better value propositions.  Indeed, in this new sector model all the ETOs have a chance to express the value of their brands and bring them before the consumer. To achieve this, they need to refresh perspectives, begin to push for industry collaboration and start to extend on internal capabilities.  Building and enhancing customer capabilities are at the core of any transformations the ETOs should embark on.
To have a discussion on the topic, feel free to get in touch with me.

From the backdrop onto the forefront – Reflections from SAPPHIRENOW and ASUG 2019

From the backdrop onto the forefront – Reflections from SAPPHIRENOW and ASUG 2019

Against the backdrop, we saw a major rehaul at SAP – the significant reorganization within SAP (even at the board level), and the Elliott Management stake. I expected acceleration on innovation and the cloud journey. My first reflection at SAPPHIRENOW was exactly that, and it came no less from Hasso Plattner when he said, “… the only way forward is the cloud. We are all clear about this …” On the product side, it was all about the experience economy/management and the value of the Qualtrics acquisition. I must admit that both the X&O data (experience and operational data) pitch, and the SAP HANA Cloud Datawarehouse launch tell a compelling story here.
Being Capgemini’s European SAP Portfolio Lead, my most delightful surprise at SAPPHIRE was the massive presence of European clients!  It was significantly higher than what we’ve usually experienced in the past. Most of these customers were looking for experiences, lessons learned, advice, and expert points of view on how to best succeed in their digital transformation with SAP S/4HANA® and the intelligent stack. The SAP S/4HANA-Intelligent Enterprise wave is definitively here! As I said in my podcast and in my previous blog posts, the “renewable enterprise” is the way of the future –agile business transformation, at measured risk, supported by a solid evolving architecture framework. It has not only been heavily embraced by most of our existing customers, but it has also reinvigorated prospects on this journey I met there. If “why move to SAP S/4HANA®” is still a question, it is a question for those who have taken a kind of “copy/paste” approach (migrating ECC to S/4 from a pure technical and functional standpoint) in their blueprint. Most customers saw the business benefits of being more agile, such as adapting to rapidly changing business models, extending the business ecosystem, leveraging data-driven outcomes, among others. Then, the questions were “what should I aim for” and “how do I move my heavily bespoke monolithic system to a sustainable platform that bring continuously business added value?”
Our Capgemini booth and meeting rooms were nothing short of overcrowded with customers during those three days. I was happy to see how eager existing customers and prospects were to engage with our experts and share their experiences with other customers from the same industries. With our live demos and uses cases we tangibly showed what a solid, renewable architecture is all about and typically consists of the combination of SAP S/4HANA®, SAP Cloud Platform, blockchain, chatbots, cloud apps, fully integrated with third party components, to deliver seamless and adaptative processes to the business.
This great traction confirms that our vision for our customers is the right one: simplify the core and build the differentiation with intelligent technologies, in an agile and evolutive way.
This requires a spectrum of competencies that encompasses the traditional SAP/non-SAP split of skills, plus business expertise, and strong architecture skills – where Capgemini is uniquely positioned.  We have the Multi-Cloud-Multi-Pillar S/4HANA Architecture, API, Dev-Ops, Microservices & Digital Core strategy nicely lined up with a significant number of trained, experienced, and certified SAP S/4HANA® consultants across the globe.
I’m more than ever committed to help our customers succeed in “Delivering the renewable enterprise … intelligently!” To learn more on the simplification of the core, increased differentiation, optimizing your time and efforts with innovative tools and methodologies, feel free to reach out to me.

Keeping the faith in the Highway to SAP S/4HANA® and Intelligent Enterprise!

Keeping the faith in the Highway to SAP S/4HANA® and Intelligent Enterprise!

At the beginning of May I attended my first SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG event after 27 years of working in the world of SAP® and I would like to make a few observations on my time spent in Orlando:

The average experience of SAPPHIRE NOW attendees is a bit higher than a Salesforce customer event (possibly by 20–30 years)
The keynotes were interesting, but I felt that there was a lot for partners to interpret the XData Odata message. There is a lot of other data out there that we need to understand and use to make the enterprise truly great, and drive the concept of the “experience economy.” I agree with SAP’s view that the world has changed and that organizations once again need to make a major shift.
For me, meeting with all our clients was really interesting and where I learned the most.

So, what did I pick up and why is it causing me doubt?
Over the past 12 months, I have been trying to line up my business around two go-to markets –Capgemini’s Highway to SAP S/4HANA® (move to a standard core) and the renewable enterprise – using a flexible micro-services platform to provide the differentiation, agility, and connection to the application world beyond your new SAP S/4HANA®  solution.
What surprised me at SAPPHIRE NOW was the number of clients who felt that the renewable enterprise was something that came after the core was migrated and how long they were prepared to wait. They felt that there was so much effort going into the move to SAP S/4HANA®   that the platform was a distraction and that it removed focus. They could well be right, but for now, I want to stick to my guns.

You are not just setting up a new ERP system with SAP S/4HANA® , you are setting up a new platform, so you also need to renew your application and integration strategy in this new fast-paced world of “hyper-connectedness.” You need the SAP Cloud Platform (SCP),  you need to support it in a different way, you need different skills, and above all, you need a different mindset. Our clients who implement SCP using the older approaches soon find that their users find faults, and say that issues with the look and feel, or preference, or missing functionality they wanted are errors and need to be fixed with a ticket. In the new SCP world users have to get used to minimum viable products and the idea that things can change after a ‘go-live’ quite easily and without a lot of overhead. They do not need to panic and shout P1 error as soon as they don’t like the look of something.
Adopting SCP, even on the ECC platform, can have great benefits and get users used to the look and feel, the support teams used to the technologies, and allow teams to learn on the job.
SCP improvements can give the benefits that help to the CIO and IT organization to sell the move to SAP S/4HANA®  to business and open the eyes of the users to what can be done and how they should design their complete new SAP S/4HANA®  solution, (open their eyes).
It means you have your future-state architecture in place before you move to SAP S/4HANA® and you can test it and understand it properly.
SCP provides interim states between the old SAP and other systems and the new SAP S/4HANA®   will also mean you have to address issue such as data early.
It gets everyone excited and shows it’s not a technical upgrade but an opportunity for business change.

I also believe that moving the core and not doing SCP carries the risk that you deliver your enhancement using the old architecture that stops clients taking the new releases and providing an agile platform for the future. If you are taking a long time to do the initial design, I question whether you are really moving fast enough, how you can design something for clients, employees, and partners that will go live in 2–3 years when business and your competition are changing every few months.
I have some evidence that I am thinking the right way, in that we are receiving a lot of interest from customers who have started their SAP S/4HANA®  journey at phase zero and then didn’t get to a clear business case, or have been scared off by the cost of the move, the risk, or working out how to do the move. This suggests that some people are starting off on the wrong foot.
I think early use of the platform is a great start on the road to SAP S/4HANA® , and working to show the innovation and agility that can delivered before the move to SAP S/4HANA®  starts is a real winner. Not having this new platform architecture in place will once again slow down or impair the business innovation where your business can truly differentiate.
If you want further information on our way of thinking or are struggling with your own move to SAP S/4HANA® please contact me David Lowson or Alex Bulat, Capgemini innovation lead.
Or if you want to try out our approach and see if there is value in it, please contact us  to discuss a Capgemini innovation day.

How to define complex use cases and implement them in your SIEM/SOC project

How to define complex use cases and implement them in your SIEM/SOC project

In our first two contributions, we presented the overall structure for a SIEM/SOC project and derived best practices for building the technical infrastructure of a SIEM. In this article, we introduce you to the complexity of use case development and its challenges, and  propose some best practices.
The struggle about SIEM use cases
Use cases form the basis for log data analysis in every SIEM. They define which log data are analyzed, the type of analysis performed on the log data, as well as the reactions to a possible event. Without tangible use cases, the data in any SIEM would only be stored in a structured manner, enabling ex-post investigation if necessary – but near real-time monitoring of security-relevant parameters is a long way off. Thus, it can be said that use cases make up the core of every SIEM and deliver the functionality that most organizations want, and many authorities require: efficient, near real-time monitoring of security-relevant events!
However, many projects face problems when creating use cases in an efficient and effective way. We have identified three key challenges:

Lack of focus
Lack of structure during use case creation
Lack of control over stakeholders involved

The broad and heterogenous IT landscape of large organizations can create a loose track of SIEM use cases – focusing on key risks, related systems and most likely attack paths is necessary.
Although the ideal goal of every SIEM is to have every single application connected, your SIEM project should initially focus on quick-wins and high-risk applications. The question that arises is simple but non-trivial: What applications shall we link to our SIEM first?
As the IT landscape is often very heterogeneous, there are common standards that you should base your scoping on:

Apply a risk-based approach when deciding on what applications you will connect to your SIEM first. In doing so, rely on what you already have in place, e.g. protection requirements analysis.
Include business requirements in your decision. Focus on the applications that are most critical to your business.
Assess benefits and costs related to the use case implementation.
Realize scaling effects by onboarding common and widespread, used technical platforms, such as the operating systems, to quickly achieve a baseline coverage.

A well-structured approach to use case definition and application expertise are needed to ensure efficiency during this stage.
If you start with the use case formulation without a concrete plan, you’ll quickly reach your limits.
Use case formulation is a complex process and requires detailed specification in various dimensions. First, the use case’s objective needs to be specified functionally, i.e. the exact correlation rule and the steps for resolving a possible event. Secondly, the use case needs to be specified technically, i.e. the exact log where the information is drawn from, the type of log and the storage location. Also, readability of logfiles and the logfile volume should be considered.
These factors call for the following:

A structured and pre-defined approach towards use case development in order to cover all relevant aspects.
A standardized template that covers all relevant information to ensure that all aspects are properly documented and use cases can be compared.
Involvement of critical stakeholders (e.g. the application owners) to ensure their buy-in and make the use cases effective.

A central instance is required to steer the stakeholders involved in use case creation and to ensure a common standard.
Each SIEM use case unites a wide set of interests and goals. The CISO requires the use cases to tackle security-relevant goals. These goals, however, can only be implemented with deep knowledge of the applications. Hence, the application owners need to be involved. The worker’s council wants to avert employee monitoring, while the management’s interest is on monetary aspects mostly. You must consider the following during use case creation:

Install a central steering instance which is responsible for driving the use case formulation process.
The central steering instance must have a deep understanding of the stakeholders’ interests and their expertise in order to tackle their concerns individually.
In-depth preparation of workshops with the stakeholders is required to use the time they provide to the project most efficiently.

Contact us now to learn more about  SIEM use cases!
Based on diverse project experiences, Capgemini Invent has developed a framework for use case formulation that tackles relevant obstacles. We’re more than happy to share our experience with you and help you define and implement the right use cases in your SIEM.

Capgemini’s Commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Capgemini’s Commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda called “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” The goal was to define ‘the future we want’ and it developed to continue where the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) left off after they expired in 2015. The new plan for sustainable development outlined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or ‘global goals.’ One of the key differences between the MDGs and SDGs, is that the SDGs apply not only to the developing world, but also to the developed world. Therefore, the entire world needs to be working towards sustainability together.
The United Nations Global Compact is world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. It is a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles. CEOs around the world have signed onto the Global Compact to express their commitment to achieving the global goals. By engaging local CEOs, the Global Compact aims to ‘make global goals, local business.’ Capgemini supported this initiative by becoming one of the over 12,000 signatories in over 160 countries around the world committed to helping achieve the global goals by 2030.
By signing onto the Global Compact, Capgemini has committed to help achieve the 17 sustainable development goals. These goals were defined through an inclusive process that included governments, businesses, civil society and citizens through the entire process. They set out to identify the most pressing sustainability issues and define the world we truly want. Their conclusion was that everyone agreed on what needed to be achieved and felt it was necessary for everyone to be working toward these goals, especially businesses.
The global goals include: no poverty, no hunger, good health for all people, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace justice and strong institutions, and the final goal of partnership for the goals. Each goal has a specific set of targets aligned to them that go into detail about how the goal is defined and will be measured.

Capgemini is doing several things to help achieve these goals. Many of the goals are specific to environmental sustainability such as climate change, sustainable cities and communities, and responsible consumption and production. Capgemini takes this very seriously and has achieved ISO 14001 certification.  ISO 14001 is an internationally recognized certification for environmental management. We also currently have a target of reducing CO2 emissions by 20% per full time employee by 2020.  As of 12/31/17, we have achieved a 16.7% reduction per FTE. We have also recently launched the Positive Planet campaign. This campaign has been created to help us reach these environmental sustainability targets by decreasing emissions, investing in sustainable building technologies and reducing waste.
Another way we are working toward achieving the global goals is through our volunteer efforts.  We support 17 charities in North America and each of them have missions that help us achieve the global goals. An example of this is shown through our partnership with Feeding America and Food Banks of Canada. These organizations are networks of food banks across the US and Canada that work to decrease food insecurity and tie to the global goal of No Hunger. In alignment with Capgemini’s strategy to promote digital inclusion globally, our employees volunteer with Girls Who Code, Junior Achievement, and Year Up.  Each of these organizations promote the Gender Education and Quality Education global goals through their work with youth in low in communities.
Finally, one of the most important global goals to Capgemini is global goal #17 – Partnership for the Goals.  We firmly believe that we are able to make a greater impact in our communities when we collaborate with our clients and partners to work toward a shared vision.  If you are interested in learning more about how your organization can partner and work toward the global goals, I invite you to join us in partnership with the National Diversity Council for the upcoming Corporate Responsibility Summit on May 17th.  Thorin Schriber from the United Nations Global Compact will be presenting updates on the progress made toward the global goals and how to engage your organization.
More details about the Summit can be found here.
As former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “We don’t have a plan B because there is no Planet B.”  We will only achieve the sustainable future we all desire if we all work together to create it.
Lauren Sanne is the Digital Inclusion Manager for Capgemini North America.

SAP S/4HANA® Cloud, single tenant edition (STE). SAP’s stepping stone to full SaaS ERP

SAP S/4HANA® Cloud, single tenant edition (STE). SAP’s stepping stone to full SaaS ERP

First, a definition. Single-tenant SaaS means that each customer has its own, independent instance of a software stack which is not shared with other customers – as opposed to multi-tenant SaaS where one instance of a software stack serves multiple customers.
To be quite honest, when I first heard about S4HC STE, I thought “single-tenant SaaS? That is not what we want, right?” After all, not all the charms of SaaS are met in a single-tenant mode:

Customers have a certain freedom to customize the ERP core with all the risks that we know from the past
The vendor (SAP SE) is no longer pushing its frequent release cycles and software upgrades to the customers automatically, increasing the risk of outdated ERP landscapes that are difficult to upgrade like in the early days. The dream of  “continuous innovation” may be at risk
The lowest possible TCO resulting from the sharing of software and infrastructure among multiple customers will not be reached.

In addition to this, the line between SAP S/4HANA® Cloud (S4HC) and the more traditional deployment options, such as SAP HEC (HANA Enterprise Cloud), SAP S/4HANA® on hyperscale infrastructure or partner managed infrastructure, is getting thinner with STE and often difficult to explain to customers and even to my own colleagues.
Digging more into the material, I realized however that S4HC STE is a good stepping stone for customers who have a strong cloud/SaaS mindset for their ERP core but for whom multi-tenant S4HC (S4HC MTE) is still a bridge too far, customers who want the selling points of SaaS ERP but need the full functional scope of S/4HANA on premise (which cannot be offered yet by S4HC MTE), and those who still need some flexibility to tailor the system to their individual needs and decide themselves upon the release cycles of the software.
S4HC STE is very well positioned for such customers. Better than the more traditional deployment options:

The vendor (SAP SE) manages S4HC STE for the customer, from top to bottom, including half-year release upgrades and offers the ERP core truly  “as-a-Service” (maximum unburdening of IT management)
In S4HC STE, modifications are not allowed and the implementation approach is very much geared around “five golden rules” that realize the cloud/SaaS mindset and pave the way to a possible future migration to S4HC MTE. “Fit-to-standard” and “keep the core clean” are key in this
S4HC STE is cheaper than SAP HEC and S/4HANA on hyperscale infrastructure or partner managed infrastructure (TCO).

So, S4HC STE may not be full-blown SaaS ERP. And it may not be the terminus for customers who want S4HC MTE in the end. But it is the preferred deployment option for customers who want to modernize their SAP ERP core (S/4HANA), who want Software-as-a-Service with all its characteristics, and who want to smoothly migrate to full blown SaaS ERP (S4HC MTE) whenever they are ready for it.
With the Highway-to-S4 offering, Capgemini helps customers qualify how strong the customer’s cloud/SaaS ERP mindset is, and what this means for the choice between S4HC STE and S4HC MTE when they need to modernize their ERP core (S/4HANA). The more traditional deployment options are in scope of this qualification as well (SAP HEC, hyperscale infrastructure, partner-managed infrastructure, on premise).
In case it turns out that S4HC STE is the right option, Capgemini helps customers make their “five golden rules” of implementation more concrete to maximize the advantages of SaaS ERP and to pave the way to a possible future migration to full-blown SaaS ERP (S4HC MTE).
If you are interested to discuss this further, send me an e-mail (rik.laurens@capgemini.com)

It is time to forget tic-tac-toe ?

It is time to forget tic-tac-toe ?

Remember tic-tac-toe? A strategy game where you combine either Xs or Os in a row in order to win. The world is changing fast and businesses need to change as well to remain relevant. Business strategy is no longer about connecting the Xs or Os, but about leveraging the Os through the lens of the Xs.
You must be wondering what I am talking about. Let me give you some background. I attended the 30th edition of SAPPHIRENOW and ASUG event in Orlando earlier this month and was impressed by SAP’s keynote on using experience management (XM) to take the value of products and services to the next level. X is the experience data and O represents operational data. As a business it’s imperative to look at operational data together with experience data coming from various channels to bring efficiency in the process and improve customer experience. SAP is doing exactly that.
As expected, SAP did not overwhelm the audience with SAP S/4HANA at the event. This is an indicator that the umbrella term of HANA is “business as usual” for both SAP and customers. Customers are looking forward to taking their enterprise to next level after moving to the lean digital core and leveraging intelligent technology. SAP did provide next step for all the customers who have already undergone digital transformation and for the customers who are yet to take the big leap, another reason to start asap on digital core and intelligent enterprise.
SAPPHIRENOW and ASUG did provide a great experience to participants by bringing in leaders from diverse fields and hearing them articulate their take on life. Personally, something that struck a chord and will stay with me, is the advice Sandra Bullock’s father gave her when she was a little girl – Measure Twice, Cut Once. This is at the core of what we do at Capgemini to help customers adopt a digital core and intelligent enterprise. Our Highway to S/4 offering and assessment services ensure that customers get relevant insights and information to take the leap.
In my interaction with customers at the event, I came across a positive shift in mindset towards SAP S/4HANA. The questions have changed from “… why should we move …” to, “… how fast we can adopt SAP S/4HANA …” and “… what else can we do with SAP S/4HANA…?” Customers are looking at us to articulate our experiences of implementing SAP S/4HANA and see if they can take preparatory steps to avoid some of the challenges.
Customers were keen to experience the Intelligent Enterprise and we were fully prepared for it as we had live demos around this at our booth. Our demos received great footfall and resulted in positive discussions with many visitors and new clients.
If you want to know about our Highway to SAP S/4HANA® and Digital Core transformation approach or would like to experience our demos on the Intelligent Enterprise, please feel free to reach out to me.

Five payment trends that decide the future of payments

Five payment trends that decide the future of payments

Welcome to our blog series in which we will describe five payment trends in the Dutch payments market. In this first blog post, discussing the current changes in the Dutch payments markets, we will start with the Payments-as-a-Service trend.

1. Payments-as-a-Service
2. One-click payments
3. Invisible payments
4. Cross-border payments
5. Spread Payments

What is happening in the payments market?
Last year, Uber applied for a payment processing license from the Dutch Central Bank. This will enable them to streamline payment processes in their ride hailing-app and food delivery businesses. Innovative payment models are being developed by GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), which make use of the advantage they have because of their advanced customer insights. These examples illustrate how new non-bank players move towards a direction that focuses on the changing way consumers experience payments. A new generation of consumers expect the same convenience and seamlessness in payments as offered by Dutch supermarket company Albert Heijn in its “Tap to Go” concept, which allows customers to tap product shelves to pay for their products.
Nowadays, new players challenge traditional banks in every area in which traditional banks previously held strong positions. Regulations, such as the Payment Service Directive (PSD2), should bring even more competition and innovation to the payments industry. PSD2 is changing the banks’ monopoly on customers’ financial data by requiring banks to share data with third parties at the customers’ request. For traditional banks, the strategic risks are profound, as they risk losing direct contact with their customers when they use third-parties for financial services.
A good example of this is the payment process for online shopping. If we shop online, the payment is performed by facilitators that get the payment out of the bank account (image 1). For this service, the facilitators ask for a fee from the merchants, which can be included in the retail price. This process can be simplified in an open banking setting in which the merchant is given permission to directly access the bank account (image 2). In that case, there are typically no additional fees. This is not the standard yet, but this will ultimately have its effects on intermediaries in the payment process because they must change their position within the payment value chain. In anticipation of these changes, payment service providers (PSPs) should position themselves in the payments market in such a way so that they create additional value for their customer, both B2B and B2C.

image 1
image 2
The payments market is growing significantly, and global mobile payments are expected to rise to 726 billion US dollars in 2020. GAFA has an interest in monetarizing payments further, leveraging their large customer base and specific customer data. With GAFA involved, and to take advantage of open banking opportunities, we will describe five payment trends in the Dutch market, starting with Payment-as-a-Service.

Trend I: Payment-as-a-Service
Executing payments is not a core business for many e-commerce companies, and for many of them, it will not become one in the short run. Therefore, service providers that provide payment platform services and integrate with online stores will remain an important factor for e-commerce companies.  However, these PSPs should bring additional value to their customers to stay relevant. Some PSPs leverage international e-commerce growth through collaborations with payment methods such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. In 2017, 40% of Dutch online shoppers purchased at least once abroad. Nowadays this has become even easier thanks to the new EU regulation that came into force in December 2018 to remove geo-blocking in online payments. Geo-blocking is a discriminatory practice that prevents online customers from accessing and purchasing products or services from a website based in another country.
Also, PSPs are using artificial intelligence and machine learning to build fraud prevention and risk management into their service. Technical standardization of API designs, such as has been executed by Open Banking UK Ltd (initiated by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority), will reduce time to market for Payment-as-a-Service even further, as all parties work with the same rules. In an open banking context, this trend will increasingly support co-creation and move parties to expend and identify sources of value and revenue in cooperation with traditional players.

So, what is ahead of us?
In this blog post, we described the first payment trend and the current payments market, Payment-as-a-Service, and in our next post, we will focus on two other trends: one-click payments and invisible payments. Our intent is to shed light on customers’ most essential demands and what payment trends are on the rise due to these growing demands.
Co-Author for the blog – Timon Moolenaar