SAP Labs: The Cloud Enabler

Enterprises and consumers expect 24/7 cloud computing, without interruption. Talent at SAP in Hungary is delivering the necessary infrastructure and tools.

Just a glimpse at Hungary on the map reveals one of the reasons behind SAP’s decision to continually build software development expertise in Budapest. Located in burgeoning Eastern Europe with ready access to top talent from Budapest’s technical universities, and in the same time zone as SAP headquarters in Germany, SAP Labs Hungary is making a strong contribution to the success of SAP products and has become an integral part of SAP’s transformation to a cloud company.

Take cloud operations, for example. SAP Labs Hungary has grown into one of SAP’s key regional bases for cloud service, delivery and operations, providing mission-critical services to global customers running numerous cloud solutions, including SAP S/4HANA, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, and SAP Success Factors solutions.

SAP Labs Hungary will soon integrate cloud operations teams for SAP Hybris, adding a 24/7 cloud operations center for SAP’s cloud for customer and commerce products. The cloud control centers in Hungary are also in charge of the handover between the Asia Pacific region and the Americas to ensure 24/7 monitoring and response. And they serve thousands of SAP customers operating in the European Union that are subject to European Data Protection laws.

The Apple partnership has also been a positive impulse for SAP Labs Hungary, particularly for the mobile development teams who are at the forefront of conquering of the enterprise mobile market.  The Mobile Platform team at SAP Labs Hungary is responsible for developing the software development kit (SDK) that empowers millions of developers with tools to build native iOS apps based  on SAP Cloud Platform. The SDK was announced in March at this year’s Mobile World Congress, providing developers, designers, and businesses with the tools and scalability to quickly and efficiently build powerful enterprise-grade apps for iPhone and iPad.

To top it all off, the engineering teams behind SAP’s fastest growing cloud product, SAP Integrated Business Planning, are also being led from SAP Labs Hungary. Although numerous SAP Labs locations worldwide support the development of SAP Integrated Business Planning, SAP Labs Hungary has made unique improvements to its engineering processes by, for example, co-locating all relevant engineering functions – including development, maintenance, operations and support. This one-team collaboration has one target in mind: customer satisfaction.

With all this cloud growth at the seventh largest development center in the SAP Labs Network, it’s no wonder that SAP Labs Hungary is currently expanding its office space, having recently opened a new cloud service center for SAP Successfactors, and is set by the end of 2017 to add 7,000 square meters of new office space.

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Spotlight on Women Leaders at SAP: Christine Regitz

Christine Regitz, vice president of User Experience at SAP, traces the origins of her career at the epicenter of the world’s most innovative technologies to her experiences with the basics – being a handyman at home and excelling at math in school.

Raised in a household that valued education — her father was a primary school teacher and mother taught kindergarten – Regitz pursued a somewhat unusual high school course of study combining English, Physics and Math.

Christine Regitz (image via SAP)

After graduating college with a degree in business administration, she worked briefly at a consulting firm startup, followed by a position at a software company.

She joined SAP more than 20 years ago when that consulting firm was acquired. Now a member of the SAP Supervisory Board, also serving on the Technology and Strategy, and People and Organization Committees, Regitz enables teams worldwide that are developing solutions for two of the company’s most strategic areas: SAP Fiori and SAP Cloud Platform in the industry.

Despite Regitz’ perspective that math is for lazy people, her career trajectory belies any doubts about her intense curiosity and hard-charging focus on results.

In this exclusive interview, she explains her major role model in life, why she loves change, and how the IT industry can attract more women.

One of the most influential roles models in my life was…
My grandfather, a hard-working craftsman in construction, who instilled in me a fascination with how things fit together, and what tools you use and why while we spent time together in his home workshop.

After talking with a career counselor in high school about jobs for math majors I realized…
That economics was a perfect fit. I studied operations research, energy management and industrial management theory. Physics was a hobby.

Math is for lazy people because…
Once you do the calculations, it’s done. 

One pivotal attribute that has brought me to where I am today is…
My quest for what’s ground-breaking. Unlike many people who don’t like change, I’m very curious about discovering new topics and different ways of moving ahead.

My role gives me the freedom to…
Help bring our customers and partners the exciting innovations SAP is introducing to change the world for the better. From product road maps to lessons learned, I’m at the frontlines helping our developers understand cloud-based innovations on our platform like machine learning, cognitive computing and internet of things. I’ve always been lucky that my managers have given me the space to pursue my creative ideas.

In a sea of fast-paced innovation, I stay centered and productive by…
Interacting with interesting people who share my passion for IT at industry conferences and meetings.

Women today have a unique opportunity to…
Influence what the new digital world will look like because everyone needs them to define the use cases that will comprise our future economy.

Businesses can attract more women to high tech by…
Demonstrating how technology helps people and improves their lives. We need to explain how studying STEM translates to a future-proof career. Our industry also needs to be more flexible with initiatives like SAP’s Back2Work Program, which encourages women to return to the workforce.

I’m helping women get ahead by…
My work as co-founder of the Business Women’s Network at SAP, which provides shared experiences and role modeling support. I’m also a member and Vice President of the German Informatics Society.

The trend I’m most excited about is…
The intersection of society and technology – the profound changes that advanced digital technologies like artificial intelligence and social networks are having on our lives.

When I’m not working, I kick back and relax by…
Listening to alternative music, gardening, reading and staying involved in a non-profit community theatre association which I co-founded. We saved a local cinema from closing in my town, and bring in a wide range of films every week from independent and foreign movies to blockbusters

Follow me @smgaler

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Corporate Sponsorships Reimagined

When I say the words corporate sponsorship, what do you think of? Logo placements. Official status. Fancy private events.

These are the types of things that have long defined corporate sponsorship programs; essentially, I give your company a bunch of money and in return you display my logo, feature my name in a gala program, and sing my praises in public. It’s pretty straightforward—but frankly uninspiring.

These are the methods of the past. Today’s fast-changing, technology-enabled marketing and consumer landscapes demand a new, more-dynamic model of corporate sponsorship.

Call it “sponsorship 2.0.” In this new paradigm, richer collaboration amplifies impact and partnerships go beyond pay-for-placement. So what does it look like? Sponsorship 2.0 partnerships are:

Authentic

Sponsor partners need to actually use the products and services they promote. Talking points aren’t enough—real, anecdotal experience is key. If there’s no product showcase, then there’s no business case. The credibility of a partnership also hinges on authenticity. How often do we see celebrities on television promoting a product, and then doubt that the celebrity actually uses that product? Exactly! Authenticity breeds credibility, credibility breeds trust, and a partnership based on trust yields the most for both parties.

Global, Yet Local

The partnership needs to have global resonance, yielding compelling, brand-driven stories that are relatable in any market. This leads to greater message scale, impact, and more consistent benefits for the partnership.

Sustainable

Sponsorships can be an expensive marketing and sales tool. So you want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. The returns of a simple pay-for-placement exchange are hard to justify. The real way to move the needle and remain sustainable is to have partnerships that are versatile, that cover points 1 and 2, opening additional avenues for revenue generation.

At SAP, we’ve put sponsorship 2.0 into action with a threefold approach to how we engage our sponsor partners in sports and entertainment. We’ve experienced stronger relationships and greater returns when our engagement is multifaceted. Apart from pursuing sports and entertainment partners who are authentic, global, diverse, and sustainable, we embed our technology with our partners at three levels:

 

By engaging dynamically with our sponsor partners in sports and entertainment, we not only help them run better on the field, in the stands, and in the front office, but we also enable them to more intimately experience SAP, see the value of our products and services, and then share the SAP story authentically. That’s a more inspiring dynamic than simple logo placement! It’s a collaborative effort, and one that advances SAP’s mission to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.

Generally speaking, sponsorships are not being all they can be. They are not making the impact they are capable of and they are not generating the mutually beneficial returns they should. The first set of three points outlined above represent a foundation for Sponsorship 2.0, but they are certainly not exhaustive. And yes, there is still a place for world-class, white-glove events.

Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear directly from some of our sponsor partners, as they speak to the successes of our relationships, through their eyes. It doesn’t get more authentic than that.

Follow SAP Sports on Twitter & Facebook


Bjoern Ganzhorn is head of Global Sponsorships at SAP

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Virtualize home mail server

For economy computer resources I have got new idea. Take old notebook, install Windows 7 and VmWare Workstation Pro. Switch off Windows GUI and run it like Windows Server Core. Share virtual machine at VmWare Workstation server and switch on remote desktop at it. Profit! The speed up to 30%!

SAP Announces Recipients of 2017 SAP Pinnacle Awards

WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced recipients of the 2017 SAP Pinnacle awards, recognizing partner contributions to customer success and innovation.

Click to enlarge

The awards are presented annually to the top SAP partners that have excelled in elevating their partnership with SAP, helping businesses around the world Run Simple.

Winners and finalists in 19 categories were chosen based on recommendations from the SAP field, customer feedback and performance indicators, including a Customers’ Choice award, which recognizes a customer-nominated SAP partner.

Award recipients will be formally recognized at the SAP Global Partner Summit, being held on May 15, 2017, in conjunction with the SAPPHIRE NOW conference, being held May 16–18 in Orlando, Florida.

For more information, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

Media Contact:
Jason Loesche, +1 (484) 437-0015, j.loesche@sap.com, ET

Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
© 2017 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx#trademark for additional trademark information and notices.

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SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS: Innovation Will Come from Customers and the Ecosystem

Rick Knowles explains how the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, now generally available, will speed up development time for SAP customers and partners. He also shares details about the roadmap for SAP’s joint development with Apple.

Why is the partnership with Apple so important?

Rick Knowles: “With the SDK centered around iOS in the enterprise we are creating a new development community.”

We have released software development kits (SDKs) in the past, but this is the first time that we have delivered an SDK that was jointly built in collaboration with our partner.  This was a huge engineering effort for the past 11 months to build and deliver. Our development team worked diligently to deliver the most robust SDK for iOS early while also supporting our early adopters. This enterprise-grade SDK for iOS is the key foundation for our partnership and is the first major deliverable. Along with the release of the SDK, we also launched our first iOS application, SAP Project Companion for Managers & Consultants, and have opened registration for the SAP Academy for iOS to train mobile developers and designers.

What are the benefits for customers and partners?

We are giving our customers and partners the ability to speed up the development life cycle for creating native iOS based applications. A customer who has iOS skills will be able to develop an app faster using the SDK – the SDK is focused solely on increasing a developer’s time and effectiveness. SAP and Apple partners or customers can adopt the SDK to discover, design, develop, and deploy enterprise-grade iOS applications.

The SDK will help extend our ecosystem and enable SAP to build an entirely new channel of iOS-based partners who will build on top of SAP Cloud Platform. If I were a partner, I would think, “How can I adopt the SDK to better serve our joint customers?” This is a huge opportunity for partners to expand their offerings and build upon the SAP Cloud Platform.

How will the SDK impact the development community?

Today, there are about 13 million Apple iOS developers and 2.5 million SAP developers. With the SDK centered around iOS in the enterprise we are creating a new development community within the SAP franchise.

To grow this new community, we launched the SAP Academy for iOS to provide users the necessary training and education. The Academy offers classes focused on Swift, Apple’s modern programming language; the core fundamentals of the iOS SDK; and the fundamentals of the backend system, SAP Cloud Platform and how to use the SDK to build enterprise applications.

Earlier this year at Mobile World Congress we heard from early adopter customers. Can you give us an example how they are using native iOS apps for their business?

All our early adopters are fully embracing the design-led approach to re-think their process and work.  This is about engaging and focusing on the end-users, the people closest to the work and enabling them to be more productive. Through the partnership with Apple, we can be empathetic to customers and their workers by starting with the end-user in mind to find out what their challenge is and can use technology to improve their job by reimagining how the work gets done.

For example, the German precision-tool manufacturer, MAPAL, is one of our early adopter customers. We worked with MAPAL’s users to determine one of their biggest challenges, which was a severely manual process that was a heavily paper based. When MAPAL’s tool manager experienced an issue with a tool breaking on the floor, they had to go to a shelf, pull out a huge binder, find the serial number of the tool/part, record all the machine data and then write a lengthy report. After all that paper work was completed, the problem was routed to the plant manager, then to headquarters and finally to R&D to understand why the tool broke or to conduct analysis. This entire process took 7 to 14 days every time there was a broken tool. Now with the iOS app in place and deployed for the tool manger along with the SAP Cloud Platform, this process takes less than a minute to complete, and analytics and data are stored in the system. MAPAL is now evaluating how best to leverage machine learning capabilities and IoT information to pull information from their machines automatically to populate their iOS application.

How can developers benefit from the SDK?

With the SDK, many redundant activities such as writing logging scripts are already pre-built into the SDK. The SDK saves time for developers so they can focus more on the end user and the process redesign instead of mundane time-consuming activities.

This is all about developer efficiency and ensures we help them to be more productive when building an iOS application. If they already know iOS, they can now easily bring the consumer user experience into the enterprise.

Millennials coming to the workforce especially want to work the way they live. In our private lives, we have beautiful user friendly apps, now with the Apple partnership we can offer that same great experience to enterprises and their employees.

What is the roadmap for the joint development with Apple?

Under the terms of the partnership, we are creating a handful of applications that were showcased earlier this year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, such as the Asset Manager and Project Companion App. We believe that most of the innovation will come from customers based on their needs, or partners serving customers.

We are also modernizing some of our iOS applications such as SAP SuccessFactors. Of course, we also want to improve our other native iOS application portfolios for our customers of Ariba, Fieldglass, Concur, etc. Through our partnership with Apple, we will build beautiful native apps that deliver a better user experience for our customers for all our lines of business. Our customers deserve the best experience and we will leverage our partnership with Apple to bring the best design and user experience to how we serve our customers worldwide.

As for development, we made a commitment together with Apple that there will be updates to the SDK approximately every four months. The SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS (1.0 version) was made generally available on March 30. 2017. We will continue to invest and enhance the SDK with richer functionality with each release going forward. The SDK 1.0 version is only the beginning.

What can we expect in the future?

There are so many apps in the consumer space, now is the time to bring that same competition to the enterprise world. For TechEd, I see a growing iOS focus as a new thread beginning in 2017 but taking off in 2018. I hope to create an incentive/recognition program to reward enterprise developers who find ways to drastically change how work gets done under the Apple partnership. Additionally, I can envision in 2018 seeing a hackathon/code jam where the best iOS developers can showcase their work at SAP TechEd.

We are bringing developers from the ABAP world together with iOS developers to grow an entirely new ecosystem and development community centered around iOS.

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BlockShow Europe 2017: A Look at Top Use Cases for Blockchain Technology

With people now looking beyond the banking industry for promising use cases built on blockchain technology, BlockShow Europe 2017 could not have come at a better time.

Held April 6-7 at the Alte Kongresshalle in Munich, Germany, the event attracted more than 560 people and featured 26 speakers – making it the largest international blockchain event in Europe to date. Organized by Cointelegraph in partnership with nexussquared and BlockPay, BlockShow Europe provided ample opportunity for networking, knowledge sharing, and education.

The event attracted a mostly young, entrepreneurial crowd, many of whom were already working in established Bitcoin and blockchain startups. Innovation experts from the corporate sector were also on hand, as well as “explorers” who were just getting familiar with the technology. According to Cointelegraph, more than 200 individual networking meetings took place during the event.

Notable and Quotable

Moderator Elizabeth Lumely, a leading expert on fintech solutions and managing director of Rainmaking, guided the program in a constructive exchange that offered information useful to both Bitcoin and blockchain people alike. She shared the results of a recent survey by Cointelegraph, which asked, what is necessary for blockchain in the enterprise? 57% of respondents answered “security first for Bitcoin.” 43% answered “smart contract Ethereum.”

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem presented the opening keynote, “The Current State of the Blockchain.” During his address, Shrem, founder of the Bitcoin Foundation and currently responsible for business development for cryptocurrency exchange Changelly, compared blockchain technology with the power of the printing press for its potential to remove corruption, power, and control out of the hands of the few and back into the hands of the people. Shrem said, “The printing press gave people the ability to publish their own information very cheaply across borders around the world and distribute it in a decentralized way. Bitcoin is the printing press of our time. And Blockchain technology is what’s powering that.”

Trust: The Decisive Factor

Panel discussions took on provocative hot topics like the challenges of blockchain implementation and initial coin offerings (ICOs) of cryptocurrencies. Panel experts agreed that blockchain technology is good for solving issues of trust, which they said seems to be the best measure for evaluating the promise of use cases. The blockchain community however is faced with challenges common to new technologies: lack of standardization; fee structure; interoperability between different blockchains; and absence of relevant legislation. One hurdle for new users of the technology may be a willingness to accept full responsibility for their data and use of the technology. As one panelist noted, there is no Blockchain Help Line, for example, in the event that you lose your privacy key.

The banking industry was represented with a keynote from Philipp Kroemer, associate for Investment Banking Business and Innovation at Commerzbank, describing the blockchain-related projects underway at Commerzbank. In another keynote that resonated well with the audience, Milan Sallaba, partner at Deloitte, shared his organization’s insights and advice on how entrepreneurs can move from blockchain use cases to scalable production.

Use Cases Showcase Breadth of New Technology

Throughout the day, startups took to the main stage to present their blockchain use cases and business models. Here is a sampling of just a few.

Energy: The aim of SolarChange is to incentivize people to produce solar energy and sell it back into the grid. Developing nations can even sell their solar energy into the grid. The blockchain billing mechanism allows people to track how much energy they are feeding into the grid.

Content Distribution: DECENT provides a peer-to-peer content distribution network, without the absorbent fees associated with traditional publishing houses. Content on the network includes books, blogs, music, and video provided directly from the artist or author. DECENT’s Caesar testnet launched in March. It plans to launch its mainnet in June.

Supply Chain: Kouvala Innovation Oy, based in Finland, is using blockchain technology to enable an information backbone for movement of goods Europe-wide – or the “Internet for Logistics” – so that every logistics company on the network can benefit from a new level of transparency into shipping activities. Test results with live data are expected at end of June.

Intellectual Property: Bernstein.io is using blockchain-based, secured digital certificates to create a trail of record for inventors’ creations. Digital certificates can also be attached to NDA confidentiality agreements to establish the existence of a creation and record who knew of it. Legal acceptance of blockchain certificates is developing rapidly because they provide reliable documentation for clients.

Fine Art: Verisart is a startup that is using blockchain technology to provide verification of authenticity for fine art.

Blockchain Oscar Competition: More Use Cases!

The event also featured a Blockchain Oscar Competition to select the most promising startups working with blockchain technology. The winner for “Most Innovative Blockchain Startup” was etherisc, a German startup specialized in providing a blockchain solution for the insurance industry that uses smart contracts. The prize in this category was €5000 worth of Bitcoins.  The winner for “Startup with the Biggest Potential for Betterment of Humanity” was SolarChange. The prize in this category was €5000 worth of tokens from Humaniq, a next-generation bank offering solutions for the unbanked.

The day ended with a Bavarian-style party at the renowned Augustiner Keller in Munich.

Blockchain startup etherisc accepts its check of €5000 worth of Bitcoins for winning the category “Most Innovative Startup” at the Blockchain Oscar Competition during BlockShow 2017.

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

Photo source: SAP
Top image: Live Ethereum Mining at Cointed booth during BlockShow Europe 2017.

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How to Ensure that Profitability and Sustainability Are at the Heart of Your Firm

The choice between profitability and sustainability is no longer a stark one, as promising companies start showing real gains — such as Tesla Inc overtaking G.M. and Ford as the most valuable U.S. automaker by market capitalization.

The Palo Alto-based electric automaker and energy storage company reached this milestone due in part to strong first quarter performance as its Detroit counterparts stumbled.

“While G.M. and Ford may have strong profits and healthy balance sheets, Tesla offers something Wall Street loves much more: the potential for dramatic growth,” The New York Times stated. “Tesla is going to change the world, and is primed to cash in on the two transformative trends in the industry: the shift to electric vehicles as part of a broader societal move to cleaner energy, and the advent of automated driving.”

Yes, Tesla has been green from the get-go. But it’s also possible for organizations that haven’t been eco-warriors from the start to blend profitability with sustainability — the noble endeavor to business while preserving natural resources and environmental harmony. And that’s a way to please all kinds of stakeholders.

Choose Your Stakeholders Wisely

A critical move for older companies — big and small — will be to deal with climate change-related issues in their boardrooms, as opposed to sustainability departments, according to the MIT Sloan Management Review. Boards of directors would have to better understand how climate risks impact the bottom line; include climate risks among their organizations’ material risks; and determine their most significant audience.

“Boards that regard short-term shareholders as the only significant audience … would be unlikely to consider climate change as a material risk for reporting purposes,” MIT SMR stated last month. “Alternatively, boards that regard long-term shareholders and future generations of employees as a significant audience would likely consider climate change a material risk.”

Rather than reinvent the wheel, MIT SMR recommends organization ease into their sustainability transitions by:

  • Learning from existing work done by NGOs, accountants, academics and others
  • Placing greater emphasis on the materiality determination process
  • Exploring circumstances and scenarios that could affect their business — and developing plans for them

Show Me the Numbers

Board members discussing sustainability with like-minded shareholders is one thing. It’s quite another for CFOs to quantify environmental values, such as habitat preservation or factory safety.

“Just utter the word ‘sustainability,’ and a finance chief’s eyes are likely to glaze over,” CFO.com stated last month. “The gains and losses of the next quarter are likely to be more compelling than the question of whether a company’s plants will have access to cheap energy over the next 20 years.”

But long-term investors, such as those mentioned by MIT SMR, are starting to change that. Finance executives will increasingly need granular data about how climate change will influence their organizations’ future balance sheets — because long-term investors such as endowments and pension funds are demanding that information, according to CFO.com.

The Mother of Invention

Moving to profitable sustainability isn’t always a luxury that organizations choose. Sometimes the environment forces it — resulting in innovation.

“In markets where the pressures of resource depletion are felt most keenly, corporate sustainability efforts have become a wellspring of innovation,” Harvard Business Review stated in 2013. The most successful companies studied followed one or more of three main approaches:

  • Long View: Relatively expensive upfront investment in sustainable operation methods that eventually — and dramatically — lowered costs and increased yields
  • Bootstrap: Small changes in processes led to significant cost savings, which funded advanced technologies that increased production efficiency
  • Spreading Out: Dispersing sustainability efforts to customer and supplier operations helped organizations develop new business models, which competitors often couldn’t imitate

“Trade-offs between economic development and environmentalism aren’t necessary,” HBR stated. “Rather, the pursuit of sustainability can be a powerful path to reinvention for all businesses facing limits on their resources and their customers’ buying power.”

Moving Toward Sustainability

That “powerful path to reinvention” can also be consumer-driven, as G.M. and Ford have learned. And it’s not too late for legacy companies to get moving.

“The Detroit automakers are hardly sitting still in their efforts to improve current results and future prospects,” The New York Times stated Monday. “Both [G.M. and Ford] have bought technology companies to bolster their in-house engineering expertise.”

As Tesla prepares to launch its its new, mass-market all-electric car this summer, the company is synonymous with green high-tech and success. Though almost unthinkable now, G.M. and Ford could be implementing changes that would one day make them synonymous with sustainability and profitability too.

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

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What Millennials Need to Know to Succeed in the Gig Economy

Millennials face a very different job market to the one in which boomers and the older generation Xers spent much of their working lives. Forty-five percent of Canada’s workforce will consist of freelancers, contractors and on-demand workers by 2020 (a statistic that would likely be similar in other developed economies), according to recent Intuit Canada research.

One reason for millennials’ shift away from the one-job-for-life mentality is employers’ increasing unwillingness to play by the rules of the 1970s labour market. They see the scalability and efficiency offered by contract-based workforces, and now have the digital tools and network connectivity to effectively manage such operations.

Another reason is that some self-directed millennials are taking advantage of project-based job platforms, online retail platforms and other tools to make a living. And others work for companies in a more traditional sense as freelancers or contractors, but keep their tribal connection to any one business at arm’s length.

Whatever the route, more than two-thirds of all self-employed workers have no intention of returning to traditional employment, according to a recent FreshBooks survey. All this change is causing many millennials to view work through a new lens.

Limits of Flexibility

The biggest difference between younger and older workers looks to be how highly millennials value flexibility, which appears to contradict their desire for as much income stability as their parents had. Some 57 percent of millennials see not having a predictable income as their biggest challenge, according to an MBO Partners survey.

Income stability is a high priority because we all need proof of employment for a lease — and income to pay our bills — whether or not we’re proud members of the gig economy (a labor market full of temporary and freelance workers, as opposed to permanent jobs).

Even those who still enjoy a predictable income today – especially those deriving it from rote work – could eventually find robotic automation dragging them into the gig economy. Some workers are at a 98 percent risk of their jobs being automated, according to a 2016 Brookfield Institute report.

The Ultimate Training Toolbox

But millennials can view the gig economy as a saving grace. Wage-earning is undergoing a major shakeup, thanks to on-demand work.

Technology allows young workers to be productive from anywhere — and on their own schedule. They don’t need a cubicle and a 9-to-5 to be successful; they have the Internet.

The Internet makes it easy to download tutorials, watch clips and connect with others, leaving young workers no excuse to stop growing professionally and increasing their value to the economy. A freelance lifestyle can mean more openness to learning and building skills, and the Web only enhances that.

But a life of unpredictable income is not for everyone, and it’s not a model that applies to every kind of work. Indeed, our future may be tiny permanent workforces that manage large contract workforces, according to TechCrunch. Predictable income will still exist; it’ll just be harder to come by.

Finding Your Balance

For everyone else, succeeding in the gig economy means more than simply using sites like Fiverr and Elance to work 100-hour weeks on low-paying gigs. That path goes against the idea of building and honing skills that people and companies genuinely value and will always pay fairly for.

Those willing to step outside the predictable income comfort zone will have abundant opportunity to generate a good living. Consider that salaried employees are often creatively stunted by the daily grind, demotivated because their paycheck is already guaranteed, and disengaged from their work, according to a Gallup report last year.

Employers, having clocked on to this, realize that on-demand or contract hiring is a more effective way of getting certain things done. It allows organizations to be leaner and more responsive to market forces by building workforces motivated by the uncertainty of short-term contracts and engaged by the more direct purposefulness of specific skills-based projects.

This means people who can do work that is “hard to replicate” – tasks that require long-term training, skill, concentration and intelligence – will increase in worth to companies looking for the real value-drivers in a sea of email- and social media-addicted drones, according to computer science professor Cal Newport’s book Deep Work.

My challenge to millennials is to embrace this trend. Steady jobs will be in short supply, but that’s fine. With enough self-discipline and self-development, an on-demand, freelance or contract career will be where the money, fulfilment and work-life balance is at anyway.

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

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