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August 9, 2022
They're thinking of the future, taking the (calculated) risk on early-stage technologies and integrating sustainability into all of their business strategies. We call this cohort of business executives early adopters, but they're also, according to our research, early winners. At many companies, the leadership is in wait-and-see mode, while some of the competition is charging ahead. And they're already seeing success. Read on to learn how they're doing it. Then we get into technology, customer experience, and why ambient computing is quickly – very quickly – changing consumer-brand interactions. Lastly, old cybersecurity approaches are no longer enough to keep your company protected. Time for an update? Yep. Read on for the best approach.
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Next Tech
Early Adopters, Big Wins
Stuck on repeat. We know that technologies are going to play a significant role in improving the environment and maintaining sustainability. But much of that is in the future – a large segment of the advanced techs that are predicted to play the biggest part in combating the climate crisis are still in various states of maturity. Meanwhile, many companies are still relying on the same-old-same-old tools. But early adopters aren’t. They're willing to take a chance with emerging technologies because they see the potential for a hefty win-win: becoming more sustainable coupled with sustained growth.  
Balancing risk and reward. These early adopters see sustainability as a business advantage. And the more early-stage technologies they use, the more they make the connection between sustainability and business goals. They're investing in sustainability because they recognize its inherent value. They also know that data is the key to efficiency and competitiveness and that they need it to understand where they stand and if what they're doing is working.
Ready for uncertainty. This isn't, of course, about technology – or not completely. These early adopters are pressing ahead with this strategy because they've already embraced a new business philosophy that puts environmental sustainability on par with other, more traditional business metrics. It's become part of their mission, standard operating procedure, and business transformation. Although, let's be real: they are taking a bit of a gamble. Maybe their projections about what the future holds are off the mark. But the world is changing, no doubt about that, and these early adopters are willing to invest in creating a sustainable future. And one thing's for certain: what they do will have a big influence on how other companies approach sustainability.
Learn more: “What Early Adopters Know About Technology, Sustainability, and Profitability.”
Read the story 
Customer Experience
CX Is Here, There, Everywhere
The multiexperience customer experience (CX) is coming, thanks to the proliferation of computing that is everywhere, all around us, all the time. Instead of using a single app or interface, consumers will have varied and numerous interactions. We already have the tech; it's a matter of connecting it all to create the surround-sound version of CX. But what if we no longer need to use devices, as such – but instead just our voices? Advancements in chatbots demonstrate how technologies are improving; interacting with a bot is becoming easier and more personalized. Eventually we may just speak in order to, quoting Captain Picard here, "make it so."
Talk to me. Chatbots have improved to the point that they can feel as if we're speaking with a person. While they still have to get some of the glitches out, chatbots show how our interactions with technology are quickly changing. But as we move into an era of better CX, now’s the time to consider permissions and privacy issues and to build respectful policies for how these technologies are used. Ambient technologies depend on collecting and analyzing data – constantly – and there must be safeguards to protect that info and ensure that it's used for good.

Read more: 

“Let's Talk About Conversational AI”and

 "Ambient Intelligence: When Computing Is All Around You"

Cybersecurity Overhaul for Modern ERP 
Is your cloud leaky? As more companies use cloud-based applications throughout their organizations, there are more cybersecurity considerations. The old way – protecting and controlling specific applications – no longer works when so much is connected. And enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, an integral part of doing business, present security challenges. For one thing, they bring together so many users, and for another, they hold exactly the types of data that hackers like to get their hands on … because money. That's triggering companies to change their approaches to security.  
Security to-do: people. Consulting a cybersecurity to-do list helps keep assets as safe as possible. That list includes external auditing, encrypting data, investing in cybersecurity experts, and round-the-clock monitoring. But as much as technology drives security, it's really people who are going to make a company truly secure. Consistent training and support for employees is necessary – use interesting training modules, experts, and real-world examples of security gone wrong to help staff keep up to date on the latest threats and good security practices. Helping employees become invested in security is probably the safest move a company can make.

Get the cybersecurity to-do list: "ERP Security in a Cybercrime World."  


Also see: "Spotlight: Gamification Helps Our Employees Learn Cybersecurity."

Read the story 
The Big Ideas Your Colleagues Are Reading
Kick-start your week with the SAP Insights stories that are most popular with other digital business executives:
Planet and People
Bridging the Gap Between Sustainability and Financial Metrics
Read the story 
Next Tech
Spotlight: Engaging Citizens Is a Two-Way Street
Read the story 
Energy Transition: Utilities Take Center Stage
Read the story 
Three Stories That Haven’t Hit Your Inbox
Highlighting the best research about technology intersecting with the future of business, the future of work, and the future of innovation.
Shhhhh. Oh, extroverts, how we love your enthusiasm, your charm, your (over)sharing. But are you paying attention? Many think not. Being a good listener is good for you (and the many) and leads to better productivity and a better overall work vibe. Improve your engagement skills, like using nonverbal cues and posture, to show you've got your ears on. (HBS Working Knowledge)
Maximum engagement. Engaged employees are better employees – they’re happier and more productive, and they outperform unengaged workers. One way to help them be that way is with engaged leadership. Good thing leaders can be trained in this specific management style to help them guide with gusto. (PLoS ONE)
Stop stopping. We know procrastination isn't great – we just haven't gotten around to doing anything about it. But we will! Eventually. Tomorrow... at some point. Absolutely. But there are a couple of techniques that can delete the delay when used in concert. How you feel and periodic deadlines are a double win for getting stuff done. (Journal of Business and Psychology)

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