Humans drive innovation supported by the latest technology. It is key to be aware of the latest technology trends but that’s not the only ingredient to drive innovation. Sustainable business success also relies on a proper implementation of innovation in practice. This makes it necessary to deal with the innovation culture of your company as well as design as a driver for human-centered digital transformation.


Design-led innovation @ SAP AppHaus Heidelberg

In that regard, on April, 27 the SAP Design team in Heidelberg was delighted to welcome very special guests in their SAP AppHaus: After visiting the Hannover Messe to get insights in most recent technological trends, a delegation consisting of more than thirty key decision makers from prestigious Chinese SAP customers in the manufacturing industry visited the SAP AppHaus to learn more about design and innovation complemented by technology. The list of participants covered influential and powerful Chinese companies such as BOE Technology Group, Beiqi Foton Motor and Han’s Laser Technology.

The SAP AppHaus visit was kicked-off by a welcome speech from Michael Byczkowski, VP and Head of Customer Design Engagement at SAP Design. He introduced the SAP Design mission, the value of design and user experience as well as the user-centric approach to drive design-led innovation. After having pointed out the importance of always putting the user in the center and to understand the real problems of the end-users, Michael presented some selected SAP Design customer success stories like the cervical cancer project with the Heidelberg University Hospital to proof that the human factor is the key driver for innovation. Inspired by the newly gained insights, how the SAP Design team works and the required mindset and team culture, the delegates were very enthusiastic about getting to know the SAP AppHaus as a creative space to drive innovation, collaboration and foster creativity: They were trying out workshop materials, taking pictures of the meeting rooms and were asking questions concerning SAP Design’s workshop procedures – the delegates didn’t miss any opportunity to gather impressions in order to return to China with new perspectives that help them to encourage their companies to experiment with newest technologies as well as approaches and to change the way they work.

Afterwards, some SAP product experts from Walldorf provided the delegates with deeper insights and information on topics related to design and innovation: Bernhard Mayer, SAP Solution Manager IBU IM&C and Field Alliance Manager China, explained, how SAP software helps to make business with the previously shown approaches and systems. He further demonstrated, why companies need to identify optimization possibilities within the production process and how to properly react to market challenges and trends. Stephan Leuze, VP SAP S/4 HANA Global Business, provided the participants with a detailed outlook on S/4HANA and gave them a feeling for the new Fiori Design by showing a sales order fulfillment process step by step. In the end of the first section, Jan Schneider, Head of Strategy Sports & Entertainment at SAP could convince the audience that SAP and sports is a great match and explained how SAP established a dedicated industry unit for sports covering the three areas fan, team and operations. The wide range of possibilities for analyzing a football team performance and producing statistics on this visibly impressed the audience that immediately started a discussion on how to transfer these insights to their own business.


Back at the SAP Headquarters, Walldorf

After a short transfer, lunch was served at the SAP headquarters in Walldorf. This offered great opportunities to network and exchange knowledge and opinions on certain subjects. In the afternoon, Jürgen Hagedorn, Solution Manager HANA Analytics, provided the delegates with a more comprehensive and detailed picture of how SAP can further help them to manage their business. He gave them deep insights into the SAP Digital Boardroom based on SAP Business Objects Cloud and demonstrated how to get an overview over all company numbers from different perspectives like financial performance, customer count, workforce and supplier spends.

Admittedly, for the Chinese guests the visit of the SAP AppHaus in Heidelberg followed by the SAP headquarters in Walldorf was a day full of information, new impressions and insights. During the guided walk through the SAP Inspiration Pavilion, that at the same time also marked the closing of the official part of the event, the delegates experienced interactively how to deal with Big Data most effectively using SAP HANA without losing the big picture.

Before the Chinese delegation left the next morning to continue their journey to Stuttgart, Zürich and Lugarno for meeting some SAP reference customers, they spent their last hours in the evening to explore Heidelberg. Later, in a joyful atmosphere, they reviewed the insights of the day with SAP experts from Germany as well as with their SAP key account managers from China and got a feeling for German heritage during the joint dinner at Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg. The delegates at the end of the day were very thankful and expressed their gratitude in many cases. Even in retrospect the Chinese customers were very positive about the SAP AppHaus visit and the insights they got. Some of them already expressed their wishes to have design thinking workshops in China. Thus, the SAP Design team looks forward to do what they do best: humanizing business software through design.

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