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Have you ever heard about the “Digital Transformation and Innovation Campus (DTIC)” at SAP? This new innovation concept went public at June 27 this year. I am going to share some insights today.

There have been several constraints driving us to develop that new program.

In the market there are disruptive changes going on. Companies are under pressure to quickly extend or change their business models due to Amazon Business, Alibaba and others ...CxOs from all industries and especially wholesale industries are looking for guidance to understand the meaning of new technologies and how these could support successfully their digital journey.

Research Institutes as well as universities are exploring how to use new technologies to make life and work easier, and make business more productive and more sustainable.

Students and young talents are familiar to work and communicate with new digital tools and they are open to new business processes and business models. And they are open to risks and failures. The expectations of the young generation are completely different, they are looking for the purpose of work and life. They love to learn by combining theory and practical cases to be prepared for real business.

At the same time, all entrepreneurs are aware that a strong “silo thinking” is dominating their daily work and slowing down their speed to market.

How to leverage these circumstances into an amazing undisputed value?

First of all, build bridges. You know that it is hard to unlearn long term human behavior. A team of intrinsic motivated people from various business departments of a company is the starting point to experience the synergies of leveraging the know how of the experts from various departments, so development, product management, solution management, consulting and support. The pilot of the SAP Digital Transformation and Innovation Campus (DTIC) is a self-organized team with the mission to explore new ways to support and accelerate Digital Transformation and Innovation of Retail and Wholesale Customers. The idea of the team is that “no hierarchies”, cross border collaboration and intrinsic motivation are key to deliver customer focused solutions much faster and by co-innovation with not only the customer itself but also with other external stakeholders who are willing to collaborate.

As soon as this Digital Transformation and Innovation Campus pilot has been running successful, the internal DTIC community has been extended by
a number of scientists and professors from various universities and research institutes who are fully committed to contribute to accelerate digital transformation of SAP’s customer landscape.

Agile innovation is really possible. First project results are in place like the Consumer App for Retail or the Retail Floor Plan. That has been demonstrated by the Digital Transformation and Innovation Campus at the German SAP Forum for Trading Industries where the DTIC team offered several Mini workshops to allow the customers to experience most of the key differentiators of the DTIC concept, so as
- Open innovation across boundaries - various perspectives open up infinite solution areas
- Connected brains
- Mixture of multi-generational contributors
- Mixture process-, business-, technology expertise, research results and digital DNA
- Agile organization - overcome traditional hierarchies

The customers learned how they can leverage input of technology and process know how of diverse SAP Experts as well as innovative research results and “Digital DNA” from Students to solve their business and IT pain points. The customers have been inspired by this way of open innovation. Other customers had the chance to participate at the completely new format of DTIXperience for Customers. The very 1st DTIXperience for Customers has been a day full of innovation on the Digital Transformation & Innovation Campus at SAP St. Ingbert, Germany. The customers successfully explored specific challenges in an agile collaborative working environment.

Retailers and typical midmarket wholesalers validated the new innovation format together with scientists and researchers as well as more than 35 SAP experts, a mixture of senior and young talents and students. From research and science side there were participants from the Trier University of Applied Sciences, University of Trier, University of Applied Science, Kaiserslautern, University of Technology and Economics Saarbrücken (HTW) and University of Saarland, DFKI (German research institute of artificial intelligence) and Fraunhofer Institute, Technical University of Kaiserslautern.
The challenges, that each customer brought along, had been very different, varying from strategic point of view, business process and operational point of view and technology point of view. A clear guided design thinking approach combined with Canvas elements and the valuable input of global experts via a collaborative virtual platform was the core of the workshops that resulted in impressive innovative solution approaches to the customers’ challenges.

Using SAP qualtrix, the teams got an overall ad hoc feedback at the end of the event which was very positive and had been openly shared with the whole audience. Especially the young talents of the customers and the scientific participants appreciate the new working model. The experience and the fair feedback help DTIC to take the next steps and develop additional agile formats adapted to the various kinds of customer challenges.

You know that especially wholesale business seems to be squeezed out of the market. That must not be! This is a great chance to focus on Customer Experience, redefine business, innovate and install a new business, the DTIC team is more than happy to collaborate with you.

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