A Guide to the Modern Digital Transformation

Hitachi Vantara CTO Paul Lewis on a Data-Centric Approach

Many SAP customers are at somewhat of an infrastructure crossroads. While they have substantial investments in highly customized on-premise legacy systems, they realize the future will more than likely entail a migration to the cloud and SAP S/4HANA to more readily connect to new data sources and emerging technologies. In short, digital transformation has serious...

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Digital Transformation Insights with Hitachi Vantara

CTO Attaches Meaning to Survey Findings with Examination of the Data-Centric Approach

Just a few years ago, the term digital transformation was little more than a concept — a nebulous ideal that had little basis in reality for the day-to-day business. We’d heard of digital disruptors, and were aware of a few famous examples of new business models that were transforming entire industries. For the most part, though, large companies stayed the course. A global enterprise isn’t a start-up, after all, and it is only natural that it might take a little longer to appreciate that what’s been proven highly successful won’t necessarily continue. Especially when past success can be attributed in part to a legacy infrastructure of customized mission-critical systems that run effective business processes.

Fast-forward to today, and it’s clear that digital transformation is now an imperative. Emerging technologies are a big reason; companies are using machine learning, AI, and IoT to reinvent business models and better serve their customers. Another reason is a general acceptance that data is the new currency that drives a business’s profits. Capturing an increasing volume of data from an increasing number of sources and turning it into new insight to transform business models and processes is at the very heart of a digital transformation. With a data strategy that changes how you sell a product to align with the expectations of the customer, an organization is on track to becoming a true digital enterprise.

To learn more about where SAP customers are in their digital transformation journeys, SAPinsider partnered with Hitachi Vantara to explore digital transformation from the enterprise perspective. We surveyed SAP customers with at least $1 billion in annual revenue to find out more about their digital objectives, challenges, and purpose for moving to a digital platform. In the survey, customers revealed which technology trends will increase their ability to be more competitive, the business outcomes they’re looking to achieve with big data and analytics solutions, and the challenges to modernizing their legacy applications.

Key findings from the survey are outlined in a full report, “Seizing the Digital Advantage: Where SAP Customers Are in Forging a Path to Transformation.” A few stood out:

  • Nearly half of all respondents (44%) reported that they will implement SAP S/4HANA business suite in the next year
  • Asked to identify strategic business opportunities in the coming years, the majority of respondents cited reduced operating expense (69%) and increased customer satisfaction (62%)
  • The business outcomes respondents are looking to achieve with big data and analytics solutions include operational efficiencies (69%), cost reduction (65%), and an improved customer experience (57%)

While the report paints a fuller picture of what a digital journey means for the SAP customer, one key theme emerged: Customers who took part in the survey appear to be all-in with migrating to the cloud and developing data strategies to align with a data-centric approach. To expand on the findings, SAPinsider interviewed Hitachi Vantara Chief Technology Officer Paul Lewis for an expert take on what these customers and other companies will face in their digital transformation journeys. What fundamental changes must the enterprise make to compete against the digital disruptors? What are the key components of a data strategy for a digital transformation? How should an enterprise think differently about data and what a data-centric approach means for a data center? Why is SAP S/4HANA such a foundational component of a digital platform?

In an exclusive Q&A, as well as a video interview shot at Hitachi Vantara’s New York office, Lewis shed light on the meaning of a modern, digital transformation, explained the tremendous implications such a transformation has on infrastructure, and provided a step-by-step guide for how to become a true digital enterprise. “To move into that data-modernization state into your digital transformation, one needs to be data-centric instead of application-centric,” he said, “And in order to be data-centric you need a data strategy for digital transformation. What we really mean is this: You need to have four big data capabilities.”

Data Centricity and a Modern Digital Transformation: 
Paul Lewis, Chief Technology Officer at Hitachi Vantara, defines what a successful data strategy for digital transformation looks like, shares the steps to take to get there, outlines the goals for digitizing the enterprise, and discusses the trend toward verticalization.

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Seizing the Digital Advantage:
Hitachi Vantara commissioned an insiderRESEARCH survey of existing SAP customers with at least $1 billion in annual revenue. This research paper explores the considerations customers face in integrating complex IT infrastructures with new data sources and technologies to leverage digital trends.

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Businesses Need to Do Three Things in 2018: SAPPHIRE NOW Makes It Happen

In my world, it’s not too early to start thinking about SAPPHIRE NOW in 2018, which I’ll cover onsite this year June 5-7 in Orlando, Florida.

One of my first steps was to catch up with Chakib Bouhdary, Global Digital Transformation Officer at SAP. Bouhdary is a busy guy, traveling worldwide to talk with SAP customers on every continent to find out their challenges and I was eager to find out what he’s heard. These are the top three customer priorities, along with how SAPPHIRE NOW will address them in 2018.

Nobody is Safe: Customer Experience Makes the Difference

It’s no surprise that if you have a weakness in your business model, somebody will come and take advantage of it. Companies are focused on how they can deliver the best experience to their customers, strengthening those all-important, long-term relationships in new ways.

“Companies want to know how they can build better products and services that will change business models,” said Bouhdary. “While omnichannel selling is still important, these latest deep discussions go far beyond to explore new investments so companies can enter new markets and revolutionize industries.

“For example, at SAPPHIRE NOW, people will see real-life examples of how leading companies are using integrated SAP solutions — SAP S/4HANA CloudSAP Hybris, supply chain software — to reinvent the customer experience in their stores, banking systems, or insurance organization.”

Show Us How to Innovate for Game-Changing Productivity

Companies want to know how to use innovations like machine learning, blockchain, and IoT to completely transform asset management and significantly improve productivity.

“Rethinking productivity using predictive data and machine learning can transform your business structure for game-changing productivity improvements,” said Bouhdary. “Can we use machine learning to completely manage our shared services? Can we automate how we do business with our ecosystem so the business network eliminates paper and redundancy? The keynotes, expert sessions and hands-on demos at SAPPHIRE NOW will answer these kinds of questions, showing everyone how tremendous productivity gains can lower costs enough to reallocate investments towards innovations that build the business and provide greater shareholders value.”

Winning the Talent War: People and Culture

Every company needs to create an environment that attracts and keeps top talent with a culture of innovation.

“A company’s brand has to be attractive to a new generation of talent – this is a hugely competitive area. There’s also a need for companies to retool employees, using technology to improve the way people work,” said Bouhdary. “How do you introduce voice into the workplace so people can get information wherever and whenever they need it?  How do you create much better analytics so your executives don’t spend all their time searching for data?  How do you free up production costs so people have the time to think about solving problems rather than creating them?”

With SAPPHIRE NOW a few months away, there’s much more to come!

Data Centricity and a Modern Digital Transformation

In an Exclusive Q&A, Paul Lewis, Chief Technology Officer at Hitachi Vantara, Discusses Digital Strategy and Shifting IT Objectives

Paul Lewis, Chief Technology Officer, Hitachi Vantara, defines the modern digital transformation in a Q&A with SAPinsider. Lewis discusses the relevance of data-centric data strategies, the impact a data-centric approach has on IT and the business, and touches on data center modernization trends.

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Live from SAPinsider Studio: Matt Spohn on SAP Leonardo

  Matt Spohn, SAP Leonardo Prototype Lead, joins SAPinsider Studio at the 2018 BI-HANA event to discuss SAP’s digital system of innovation. Topics include SAP Cloud Platform, design-led development concepts, use cases, and how customers are using SAP Leonardo to drive innovation and accelerate their digital transformations…. This content is available to SAPinsider Members(complimentary). Please...

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Has Your System Been Breached?

Since cyber attackers are aware of methods for breaking into SAP systems, companies need to take countermeasures. It is important that they know what data they should analyze to detect where their systems have been compromised, according to Juan Perez-Etchegoyen of Onapsis. In his upcoming Cybersecurity for SAP Customers 2018 session, “Detect and Respond: How to Tell If You Have Been Breached,” in Prague, he warns of a number of vulnerabilities and then in demos provides remedies.

For example, a cyber attacker with just a few authorizations can enter your system and then prevent evidences of the breach to be shown to users, unless you take countermeasures. SAP Security Note 1926485 warns that SAP NetWeaver does not check user authorizations when deleting message classes. That means a user with access to transaction code SE92 can delete messages, and SAP events are not shown. The solution to avoid this issue is to apply the mentioned SAP Security Note on the system, which can be done manually or by upgrading the Support Package of the ABAP system.

Another example: Limits are defined for the security audit log. By default, no more than 100M logs can be saved per day. When the maximum size is reached, the system stops the logging. Attackers could generate records in the Security Audit Log, reach its size limitation, and turn off logging.

During the presentation, Juan Perez-Etchegoyen will detail ways to prevent this issue, including proper sizing of the logging and tracing mechanisms to avoid reaching the defined limits. The presentation includes different improvements you can implement to not only secure your SAP ABAP, Java, and SAP HANA systems, but also to be prepared in the event of a breach.

You can learn more about strategies to secure SAP systems at Cybersecurity for SAP Customers 2018 to be held in Prague from June 27 to 29. Visit for more information.

Live from SAPinsider Studio: Ivo Bauermann and Gerrit Kazmaier from BI-HANA 2018

Event Keynote Speakers Discuss SAP Analytics Cloud

  SAPinsider BI-HANA 2018 keynote speakers Ivo Bauermann and Gerrit Kazmaier join SAPinsider Studio to recap their keynote presentation. Topics covered include SAP Analytics Cloud and why it’s so important for a digital enterprise to have business intelligence, planning, and predictive reside in the same application…. This content is available to SAPinsider Members(complimentary). Please click...

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Live from SAPinsider Studio: Jayne Landry on SAP's BI Roadmap

Jayne Landry, SAP Global VP of Product Management for SAP Analytics and SAP Leonardo, joins SAPinsider Studio at the 2018 BI-HANA event to discuss SAP’s BI strategy. Topics include SAP Analytics Hub and how a hybrid cloud approach for consuming analytics drives a culture of innovation; a pilot project for hybrid licensing with a single…...

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Increase Value Realization in Operations with SAP Solution Manager 7.2

Access the presentation to discover:

- Key Value Chains;
- Detect-to-Correct –Mission;
- Detect-to-Correct –Vision (Focus Topics);
- SAP Solution Manager 7.2 Overall Changes;
- The new, unified Look & Feel Monitoring Applications;
- Highlights Business Process Operations; and
- New Product –Focused Run.

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