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This year, I left SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference inspired and motivated. The speakers’ stories were generous with insights – full of compelling themes to ponder. I realized that across the many sectors of the energy and resources industry sector, a common connecting thread was evident: In today’s rapidly changing environment, what keeps companies ahead directly links with how well they embrace technological changes and apply them to their business processes. The companies that lead are the ones that face change head-on, demonstrating their ability to evolve by applying new innovations that worked for their particular business models.
As we look toward the future, these are companies worth emulating. 
Here are some particular conference highlights that stood out to me:
Jay Marqua, CIO of Vantage Energy Services, speaks about his company’s vision to connect remote, offshore drilling “just like an office environment.” He began spearheading changes by consolidating structures and abolishing legacy systems.  By doing so, he tremendously saved in the total cost of ownership in training, while simplifying the process and making the system more user friendly. Using solutions from SAP, he was able to push total functionality to remote areas, transforming IT processes.
Lionel Jellins, ExxonMobil manager of global IT ventures and operations, has high standards for invoice efficiency and foresees the day when all of his suppliers will electronically communicate – even the doughnut person. He’s made clear headway, considering that ExxonMobil turns over 5.1 million invoices a year and 3.2 million of those are now electronic. Jellins is aiming to cut that remaining 1.9 million to zero. Since most of his clients interact only with procurement professionals via a computer screen, Jellins believes that if companies provide the right functional intuitive computer screens, these professionals will have a higher impression of the organization. He speaks about how integrating solutions from SAP into the organization is a key part of his company’s continued success to be an indispensable world-class procurement organization.
Laura Tibodeau, chief information officer, Americas Styrenics LLC, led a complete rebirth of her IT department using SAP HANA, but she admits that her company had some reservations about SAP’s initial claims, especially since Americas Styrenics was a smaller company, in which speed was not a part of the decision-making process, nor was using Big Data. However, the fact that SAP HANA promised no latency made a strong impact on her decision, as eliminating the company’s parallel reporting structure ultimately saved it time and money. This change reduced the need for additional IT support, putting the power of reporting into the hands of business users. Furthermore, SAP HANA provided the company with dashboard analytics, minimized the number of interfaces, and gave it an inside look at costs it never saw before. Tibodeau shares that this ability to intimately understand her company’s data is illuminating and game-changing – raising her company to the next level.
Gary Wilson, senior vice president from NIBCO Inc., has a longstanding understanding of and history with SAP. But the recession spurred the need for more operational efficiencies and for better, more informed decisions in order for his company to grow profitably. With Wilson’s leadership and solutions from SAP, the $500 million company went from focusing on order management and accounting to business intelligence and planning. While the former strategy reduced transaction costs, the latter gave the company a far better handle on business decisions, improving inventory turns while reducing costs by crossing processes and maximizing efficiency.
Peter McClure, group CIO for MMG; Rick Watson, general manager for business in Laos; and Michael Conway, head of the product team, speak about their journey to design and develop a platform from SAP for mining in Laos – a complex environment where “there were many rules, but very little compliance.” They discuss how SAP gave them the ability to lead with informational discipline and organization of many company-wide changes and growth by standardizing the business management system, using one system for all MMG Limited operations, and becoming more transparent in business measures. Developing a new system with SAP enabled them to scale quickly and streamline processes. This system gave employees a better understanding of their responsibilities and objectives to drive performance and input information at top speed while seamlessly going from on-premise to off.
Although “change is the only constant,” often companies fear or ignore the signs of transition around them, becoming too comfortable in traditional processes. Slowly, they lag behind, becoming irrelevant with antiquated systems. In an industry where technology evolves faster and faster, it’s critical that leaders look for a way to simplify and streamline their processes in order to remain agile and ready for future innovation. 
Hear more of the keynotes, sessions, and interviews from the SAPPHIRE NOW conference that cover today’s hottest technology topics. Browse the replays now.
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