Customers Talking about Innovation with SAP Business Technology Platform – Innovation Evangelism

It seems like everyone is talking about digital transformation, but what does it really look like at a functional level? What is the best way to get started? And what does it look like when it is done right?

That is exactly what we have been exploring in the Better Together: Customer Conversations series, hosted by Tamara McCleary, CEO, Thulium, and myself.

In this series, customers, partners, and thought leaders share their innovation stories and discuss how they have leveraged SAP Business Technology Platform to reach new heights. It’s an unfiltered look at the successes they have experienced, the lessons they have learned, and the advice they have for others.

Let us look at what we have learned in our first year before we kick off the second year of SAP BTP Better Together: Customer Conversations.

Throughout the past year, we have spoken to customers, partners, and thought leaders from all over the world, in a wide range of industries and lines of business, with the goal of highlighting the people behind the innovation journeys.

Each episode has four parts: my introductory blog that provides an overview of the episode, a thought-leadership podcast hosted by Tamara McCleary, a LinkedIn conversation hosted by me, and then my wrap-up blog with key takeaways.

We begin at the macro level, discussing the essential ideas, motivating forces, and shifts in the industry that are inspiring our customers’ digital transformation, and we end at a micro-level by breaking down the specific steps they took to achieve their targets. We aim to meet customers on the channel of their choice, at whatever point they are in their journey, and offer both high-level inspiration and practical recommendations.

I sat down with my co-host, Tamara McCleary, to look at our first year of customer conversations. We discussed the major themes, the big surprises, the key takeaways, and our predictions for the next year.

Here’s our conversation:

The First Year

Tamara McCleary: Timo, when you look back at all the stories we explored, is there a common theme that stands out to you? What have you learned about the businesses that you might not have otherwise known?

Timo Elliott: The biggest thing for me is just the win-win-win opportunities we consistently heard. Customers were able to elevate their experiences as they improved their bottom line and introduced more sustainable practices. Those examples of triple wins came up repeatedly.

Tamara McCleary: Yes! The triple wins stood out to me, too. It seems like the common thread in those stories is that they have a company-wide vision. Digital transformation is a huge change — change management must be part of the strategy. You must harness the power of having the whole organization working toward the same goal.

Timo Elliott: Exactly. And what about surprises? What was most unexpected for you?

Tamara McCleary: I was blown away by the agility and flexibility we’ve seen in these companies. There’s an openness that I find inspiring. As a graduate student studying the effects of nascent technologies, this level of transformative change is exciting. Businesses are no longer just surviving in future-focused landscapes; they’re thriving. It’s fascinating. How about you, Timo? What was surprising to you?

Timo Elliott: I have to say, I was impressed by the practical use of artificial intelligence. We have been talking about the potential for AI for some time, but now it has gone from aspirational to operational, and in many of these cases, AI was integrated into the foundation of the digital transformations right from the start.

Tamara McCleary: Yes! The hype level around AI has been deafening for years. It’s like VR, where it’s always the next big thing that is just around the corner. And now it’s finally driving actual, concrete business results. Hopefully, that means VR is next! But let’s look ahead: What do you expect to see in our second year of Better Together: Customer Conversations?

Timo Elliott: I think the role of IT has really shifted and will continue to shift. IT has become so much more than solely the technological side of a business; it is now the driving force that shapes how the business functions in the world. And innovations like low-code / no-code solutions, robotic process automation, and lightweight workflow tools are enabling a lot more people throughout the organization to become active participants in digital transformation. This is going to unleash a lot of creativity, but will also require a lot of cultural change, and the real heroes are going to be the IT teams pushing the boundaries of what is possible. I think we will see even more of that in our second year.

Tamara McCleary: That’s a fascinating point. I certainly hope to see more of that next year.

Timo Elliott: Definitely. What about you? What are your predictions?

Tamara McCleary: I think we’ll see an even greater focus on sustainability. We’re hitting the point where sustainability and profitability are compatible goals, where you don’t have to choose one or the other. The more successful businesses are making sustainability a significant part of their transformation. I think it will only become more of a focus in the future. I’m excited to find out.

Join the Conversation

We’ve had a truly phenomenal year of digital transformation stories, and we’re just getting started.  Stay tuned for our second year, coming soon.  In the meantime,…

Watch the full season one recap on YouTube to catch the highlights from each story featured in the first year of the series.

Missed an episode? Catch up on

  • Episode 1: Gates Corporation and NIMBL discuss the benefits of adding smart technology to existing manufacturing machinery
  • Episode 2: Ferrara shares how real-time insights help them grow their brand by responding to their customers
  • Episode 3: Endress+Hauser Digital Solutions shares how they leveraged their data to pivot to a digital solutions company
  • Episode 4: Uniper shares how they are fast-tracking innovation with automation from the plant to the field, to the back office
  • Episode 5: Costain Group PLC and Deloitte share how unifying data improves infrastructure management to reduce costs and emissions
  • Episode 6: FARYS and Capgemini discuss driving water management innovation with efficient, sustainable operations
  • Episode 7: Lloyd’s Register shares how their predictive solution delivers next level asset insight and risk mitigation
  • Episode 8: Flexso discusses how their automated HR solution increases hiring speed, accuracy, trust, and transparency for all
  • Episode 9: DAIMAINI tells us how they became the first global marketplace for VIP hospitality with a friction-free CX
  • Episode 10: Evernex shares how a sustainable and sensible solution is extending the life of IT landscapes, worldwide
  • Episode 11: Black Horse One explains how they transformed the world of Dressage with the help of technology.
  • Episode 12: Heidelberg University Hospital talk about how they can work more effectively with other hospitals and make best use of their resources.

Are there topics you’d like to learn more about? Are you interested in sharing your story on a future episode? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us for more information.

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