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From a management point of view the SAP portfolio of software solutions can be considered a toolkit for the creation and administration of businesses and organisations. The SAP Innovation Awards provides an opportunity for companies to demonstrate how they have applied this toolkit in  new or particularly excellent examples of SAP implementations.

This year in the SAP Innovation Awards 2021 there have been 385 submissions for consideration for one of the 20 awards in the following categories:

  • Social Catalyst
  • Industry Leader
  • Partner Paragon
  • Business Innovator
  • Transformation Champion
  • Cloud Genius
  • Adoption Superhero

These 385 submissions have been put forward for consideration as the projects serve as examples of innovative applications of existing technologies, or successful applications of emerging technologies such as Machine Learning or AI, the Internet of Things, Blockchain, Intelligent Data Management, advanced and augmented analytics, data and analytics solutions in the cloud, advanced cloud integration, or the industry cloud platform. There is also a clear emphasis on those projects which show intent to further social or environmental benefits.

60 finalists will be selected (these will be announced on March the 17th), and these will be reviewed and scored by a panel of judges consisting of SAP experts and external thought-leaders, influencers and community members.

By sharing and celebrating these success stories in the award format SAP is clearly intending to instigate conversations around these new technologies for the benefit of the wider SAP professional community. Innovation does not come easily and consequently some consultants and IT professionals may sometimes feel overwhelmed by the constant task of familiarising themselves with new and emerging technologies. Conversations around innovative applications of the SAP toolkit can serve to generate new ideas around implementation, or act as examples for implementation in another area of operation.

IgniteSAP would like to share the link for the 385 entries to this year’s competition with our community as they are all exemplars of innovative SAP implementations regardless of whether they are selected for one of the Innovation Awards which will be announced on April the 14th.

So here is the full set of submissions for the SAP Innovation Awards for this year: link

And below IgniteSAP will share with you a brief overview of our favourite SAP implementations from the entries for a variety of applications in industries and organisations, along with links to a “pitch-deck” for each submitted to SAP from each company or organisation. To access these just click the title at the top of each section.

Open Grid Europe GmbH:

Embellishing Existing Analytics with GIS Functionality in the Cloud

While the use of fossil fuels must be phased out over time it is necessary to meet current energy requirements as we do so. Open Grid Europe GmbH (OGE) “plans, constructs, maintains, and repairs pipeline systems, as well as leading concept design, project management, engineering, and implementation efforts.”

OGE, as the operator of the largest natural gas transmission pipeline network in Germany, has made it their mission to ensure the smooth transition of this network from natural gas to green gasses such as hydrogen gas in the future.

In order to achieve this OGE wanted to “provide field workers and other stakeholders with a unified view of asset information, scale up our SAP HANA implementation by moving to the cloud, and replace licensed analytics software that was out of date.”

They used the SAP HANA Cloud data platform to create a single cloud-based integration environment. It brings together SAP Web IDE and SAP Conversational AI with the latest geographic information system (GIS) functionality from Esri. The consulting company AED-SICAD GmbH advised the SAP and OGE team on the integration of the Esri ArcGIS solution.

The result was a scalable version of SAP HANA Cloud that runs as a Esri geodatabase. This allows operations and maintenance  monitoring of all stations and pipelines in realtime, providing new immediate insights into the pipeline network status. The project integrated 3 separate databases in twelve weeks.

FARYS:

Achieving 360° view and analysis with Smart Water Platform

A similar problem of monitoring and future-proofing a pipeline network and all endpoints faced the Farys multi-utility company of Belgium. Among other services FARYS supplies drinking water and sewage management to 600,000 customers.

In response to a regulatory push for smart metering, FARYS and two other Flemish water utility companies, Pidpa and De Watergroep, FARYS and the SAP development team of SAP Cloud for Energy built a platform to provide a future-proof solution to manage smart meters and related IoT data.

FARYS already operated an extensive SAP landscape, so they designed a solution using standard SAP to integrate SaaS SAP solutions. They built the SAP advanced metering infrastructure in SAP S4/HANA, which integrates with SAP Cloud for Energy.

The solution provides a variety of functional benefits to the water distribution network, including; End-to-end integration of disconnection and flow reduction processes, Machine learning capability, Fault pattern discovery and analytics, Maintenance plan review, and water quality management.

“The platform collects meter readings and sensor information to an IoT platform where it can be reused in future scenarios. It supports visualisation of data for internal departments and maximal flexibility in data sources, integration and provisioning. FARYS is the first organisation to use the new Cloud for Energy Smart Water Platform.”

Vodafone:

Improving user experience and operational efficiency at global scale with SAP S/4HANA

Vodafone is the largest mobile and fixed network operator in Europe. They “operate the largest 5G network and…[are] the world’s largest Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity provider, connecting more than a hundred million devices.”

The multinational Vodafone Group is responsible for connecting 334 million mobile, landline and TV customers and countless organisations. They are one of the top five global internet service providers and one of the largest operators of submarine cabling.

The company has expanded enormously over the last few years and with such a large network of operations it has become crucial to improve efficiency globally, so in partnership with Accenture they entered into an 18 month project to migrate their installation (one of the 5 largest in the world) to S/4HANA with a minimum of disruption to their operations.

“Vodafone migrated its single instance of SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) to SAP S/4HANA with a big-bang approach that made the transformation available to more than 100 legal entities across 22 countries at once.”

The Vodafone “EVO” transformation included the adoption of almost the full suite of SAP solutions.

This project has resulted in vastly improved user experience, automation and standardisation, along with realtime insight into business processes like finance , supply chain and IT: resulting in massive improvements in efficiency and productivity for the more than 93,000 users of this SAP deployment.

Apotex :

Transforming Procurement to Deliver Business Value and Empower Stakeholders with SAP Ariba Solution

Newly approved medicines are costly as pharmaceutical companies seek to generate an immediate return on their research and development expenses quickly but after a period of time generic versions of these drugs can be produced inexpensively by third parties.

Apotex Inc. is a Canadian company that aims to improve access to medicines as they become legally available for manufacture by third parties by creating high-quality and affordable alternatives for people in more than 100 countries globally. As Canada’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer one out of five prescriptions in Canada is filled with an Apotex product, and they produce 24 billion tablets and capsules each year.

The huge variety of medicines produced requires a vast network of business operations and an extended network of distributors and global alliances. Some of this activity was manual and paper-based and there were associated inefficiencies due to outsourcing. Apotex also needed to increase spend and contract visibility, and create a digital contract repository.

As part of a huge project to update its digital network an internal team at Apotex, working with a network of partners OPTIS Consulting and IBM Canada Limited, deployed the SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing, SAP Ariba Contracts, and SAP Ariba Sourcing solutions to digitalise enterprise procurement and enable strategic sourcing.

“To enable intelligent procurement operations, Apotex automated workflows and increased visibility, oversight, and compliance, empowering users to extract and visualise data and improving spend management and decision-making.”

The result of these changes has been much lower operational costs and consequently facilitated their mission of providing low-cost generic medicines as an alternative to vastly more expensive brands which are beyond the budget of many people with a serious need for those products.

Administration of Krasnodar City:

The city becomes cleaner by smart waste disposal.

Krasnodar City, in the south of Russia is the largest industrial, transport, trade, scientific and cultural centre in that region. It has a population of 932,629, and more than a million including the suburbs. As part of a larger project to create a more comfortable and eco-friendly smart-city, the administration needed to address the problem of waste disposal.

The problem was that the city’s schedule for waste removal took no account of the volume of waste accumulating at collection sites. The over-filled collection areas on the streets were causing discomfort to citizens and also presented a hazard to public health. This was in part because the established fixed rates for waste removal.

As waste collection agencies could not reasonably be expected to weigh everything they disposed of, in order to fix the problem the city administration, in concert with ER-Telecom created a prototype system for monitoring waste collection in real-time.

“It uses SAP Internet of Things (IoT) and SAP HANA to collect and analyse data, and SAP Analytics Cloud to provide insights and real-time visibility to decision makers in city administration… Accurate, objective and reasonable calculation of the volume of removed waste for each waste container using IoT technologies. Prediction analytics for overfilling prevention of waste collection sites. Efficiency of accounting of waste volumes ‘on the fly’ [and] optimisation of routes of garbage trucks.”

This implementation of smart waste containers and SAP transportation management resulted in a 50% reduction in municipal payments to the waste removal company for excessive volume of waste over the agreed rates and a greatly appreciated improvement in the urban environment .

Paypal :

Increasing Scalability and Performance for Even the Heaviest Financial Workloads

Now moving from trash to cash we will consider a recent project to expand Paypal’s capability to the point where transaction volume has become irrelevant to its speed of operations.

Paypal needed to process far higher levels of transactions with much more detail in order to satisfy new regulatory requirements and customer satisfaction. The existing 48TB on-premise system landscape did not meet the new requirements and the increasing data volume was becoming problematic.

The proposed solution was a combination of Google Cloud and SAP S/4HANA for financial products sub-ledger (FPSL) on a 96 TB SAP HANA scale-out configuration. This provided Paypal with vastly higher performance and flexibility, along with lower operational cost using the new native storage extension capability of SAP HANA 2.0 SPS05 on scale-out.

“Multi-node configurations in the cloud with smart data tiering allow for higher processing speeds and business-grade robustness without compromising cost or high-end performance… PayPal is now able to run scale-out clusters spanning from 8 up to 10 instances, with a total of 96 TB of DRAM and 3,328 vCPUs, thus benefiting from unlimited scale and flexibility.”

The resulting system, compared with a scale-up on-premise is a performance improvement of a factor of at least 10 runtime behaviour linear to volume.

The project took 24 weeks with zero downtime and delivers a more stable environment with the ability to add resources as required.

Paypal now runs one of the largest scale-out clusters of S/4HANA

MHP Management- und IT-Beratung GmbH :

Providing Trust to Contract Management via Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain.

MHP Management- und IT-Beratung GmbH, a subsidiary of Porsche AG, is one of the leading German consulting companies. Founded in 1996 the IT and Management consultancy has more than 2800 employees and 300 customers globally.

The company found there was a gap in the functionality of contract management processes offered by third-party platforms. The contract management processes of their own customers were non-transparent and inefficient with disruptions resulting in uncertainty about compliance, and also contract and offer data authenticity. Existing platforms were also difficult to link securely to on-premise financial systems.

In order to address this bottleneck in business operations they built a user-friendly contract management platform with SAPUI5 user interface. The solution provides a facility for the secure sharing of documents without a third-party platform. Blockchain technology is used as a security layer to guarantee the process documentation, general compliance and immutability certification.

“Our POC proved the SAP Cloud Platform-based realisation of a contract management platform. Thereby, blockchain increased the process transparency, compliance and efficiency without trusted third parties. The SAP Cloud Platform enables future direct links to internal on-prem systems and use cases as blockchain-based billing.”

This solution resulted in 50% cost savings, 40% efficiency in the contract management process and 80% user satisfaction due to the increased level of trust. This also frees up employees to work on more valuable tasks than document processing.

Royal Greenland/Trifork :

Sustainable Fishing throughout the Whole Value Chain

Sustainable fishing doesn’t just mean sustaining fish stocks, it means sustaining the fishermen too.

That is why Royal Greenland chooses to operate their business according to a triple bottom line of  ‘people, planet, and profit’. Originally a private company, it is now fully owned by the government of Greenland.

Consequently the company supports the local communities in which they operate, and they develop the fishing industry in a way that benefits the local fishermen, their communities and Greenland as a whole. In order to achieve these goals the company is going through the process of digitisation.

Royal Greenland operates 40 landing and processing facilities around the North Atlantic. During the registration process local fishermen were required to fill out purchase orders on paper, only for it to be replicated manually in SAP systems later on. A total of 70,000 pieces of paper per year were filled out. The company needed to speed up the process for everyone’s benefit.

Working with Trifork Smart Enterprise, Royal Greenland created a suite of user-friendly iOS-based apps using the SAP Cloud Platform. One of these replaces the paper registration process, allowing fishermen to declare their catch data in a quick and easy way, reducing errors and ensuring all legal requirements are met.

“Within a few days of launching our new app, we had fishermen asking proactively for access. This is the ultimate proof that we have created a solution that adds true value to our end-users: Fast and easy documentation of their daily catch, compliance with governmental regulations and improved foundation of income.”

Lars Bo Hassinggaard, Corporate IT Manager

Villeroy & Boch AG :

Pioneering the Use of Intelligent Bots to Improve Operational Efficiency and Customer Experience

During the second half of the twentieth century the automotive industry began to introduce robots to the production line in order to increase efficiency and free up employees for more complex and less repetitive tasks. Now with the development of intelligent robotic process automation we are seeing the same logic being applied in the office environment.

Despite being a company that was founded in 1748 the Villeroy & Boch Group has been seeking to utilise this business processing technology for the benefit of its customers and employees as well as to decrease operational costs.

The challenge was to reduce time spent on repetitive tasks involving different systems and unstructured data without interrupting the existing SAP system.

With coaching from SAP experts, an internal team created two types of bots using SAP Intelligent RPA:

“Classic” RPA bots: Digital assistants (both attended and unattended, autonomous bots) that follow predefined workflows based on set business rules.”

“Intelligent hyper-automated bots: AI-enabled bots that enhance classic RPA bots by integrating with various SAP AI Business Services (including Document Classification, Document Information Extraction, and Invoice Object Recommendation). These bots can carry out more complex tasks such as classifying and interpreting information using machine-learning based analysis and triggering appropriate next steps.”

“By harnessing the latest intelligent robotic process automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, we’ve embarked on a journey to develop automation bots to carry out routine, low-value tasks and make ERP processes intelligent. This is enabling improvements in operational efficiency and helping free our staff to spend time on more-fulfilling and higher-value activities.”

The automation of routine tasks not only freed employees from daily repetitive activities but also maximise business efficiency and value along with customer experience with quicker processing of customer requests. 

This concludes our brief overview of a selection of the entries to the SAP Innovation Awards 2021 but there are hundreds more Pitch Decks available if you follow the link provided above at the start of the article. These can be used for inspiration or just to satisfy professional curiosity about how others have applied SAP solutions in interesting ways or in surprising contexts.

Innovation is crucial in every business environment, partly because of the need to get an edge over the competition in each particular area of business, but also because technology can always be applied in interesting ways to save time and effort, and to free us up to consider new problems for everyone’s benefit. IgniteSAP wishes all the entries good luck but we would also like to point out that they have only been considered in the first place because they were already successful.

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