Hot Topics

To better understand today’s consumer product landscape, Eventful Conferences is continually connecting with key individuals in the space. This year, we completed a research project meeting with consumer product professionals from 40+ organizations across North America and the globe. With the goal of understanding how their organizations are using SAP technologies and what their impact is on organizational performance, the Hot Topics below reflect the issues that customers were most enthusiastic about.

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  • Finance

    Simple Finance

    • Understanding how SAP Simple Finance can support financial transformation
    • Making year-end and month-end closing faster, smoother and more seamless
    • Using quicker and more accurate reporting for better planning in real-time
    • Creating mobility dashboards for finance leaders to have constant visibility
    • Understanding options including Simple Finance plug-ins vs S/4HANA and sidecars

    Budgeting & Planning

    • Reducing planning and budgeting cycles
    • Improving forecast accuracy
    • Understanding the planning capabilities within Simple Finance
    • Bridging the gap between function and technology to grow revenues, improve margins
    • Understanding different options - Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) vs. Integrated Business Planning (IBP) vs. S4/HANA
    • What are best models for driver-based modeling/planning?


    • Increasing the speed and accuracy of financial and capital planning and reporting.
    • Making year-end and month-end closing faster, smoother and seamless.
    • Leveraging solutions to cut report generation time
  • Data & Analytics

    Organizational Structure for Data Management

    • Developing the talent and skills that are needed throughout the organization to support analytics. Making the business case for data scientists for high level analysis—necessary for long-term strategic business planning
    • Embedding training tools on basic analytic skills (statistics/math) for ground level people to do better analysis within functions (supply chain, marketing, etc.)
    • Moving away from a structure where people run analytics from the bottom up with no connections to decisions or process
    • Fostering a culture that “trusts” data to make decisions, instead of collecting and analyzing data and then making decisions from instinct
    • Building analytic competencies throughout lines of business/business functions

    Master Data Mapping

    • Developing the same standards across a) multiple geographies b) multiple SAP instances c) multiple companies within a global organization
    • Harmonizing data across instances—getting to one version of the truth


    • Understanding best practices on master data governance
    • Understanding best practice on how, when, and to whom data is distributed


    • Understanding SAP’s overall reporting strategy and how all the tools work together
    • Understanding what can SAP HANA and the cloud do to make this process easier and faster
    • Identifying what KPI’s should be measured to truly understand your business and benchmark against industry peers
    • Linking multiple reports to paint a more accurate picture
    • Ensuring the right information is being reported at the right level


  • Suppliers

    Integrated Business Planning

    • Holistically leveraging data to enable integrated planning across sales, marketing, finance, supply chain, transportation, warehousing operations and labor, and getting all the information from a single source
    • Providing visibility across the entire organization


    • Creating and leveraging predictive supply chain analytics.
    • Gaining visibility and ensuring accuracy of supplier information, supplier information analytics and the ability to collaborate and exchange information.

     Inventory Optimization

    • Balancing lean inventory levels – connecting to procurement, supply chain & production planning – with optimum service levels

    Transportation and Logistics Management

    • Managing and minimizing logistics costs
    • Understanding and maintaining visibility of route costs to increase efficiency and effectiveness
    • Improving shipment density/load utilization

    Procurement & Spend Analytics

    • Integrating demand planning with supply planning and procurement
    • Optimizing strategic sourcing and supplier management
    • Understanding business network extensions for procure-to-pay
    • Understanding best practices in automating procurement
    • Understanding best practices in commodity management

    Product Traceability

    • Tracing batches across both SAP systems and non-SAP systems, through business partners and distribution systems
    • Complying with increasing regulations around traceability
    • Establishing and maintaining complete visibility at the ground level on product sourcing
    • Mitigating unforeseen costs


  • Customers & Consumers

    Trade Promotion Management

    • Understanding forecast baseline, so promotional lift is definable
    • Demonstrating spend effectiveness and measuring ROI
    • Understanding promotional events by brand, size, event type, account and season
    • Analyzing the relative benefits and financial trade-offs associated with running different kinds of promotional programs
    • Balancing time spent on post-event analytics and trade promotion planning

    Omni- Channel

    • Understanding the roadmap for building digital capabilities
    • Building consistent consumer experiences across every channel
    • Moving from an environment where digital is managed individually by account/brand managers to having a dedicated team for digital across brands
    • Building relationships with online partners—beyond traditional retailers
    • Managing online inventory of perishables and shorter-shelf life products with online retailers
    • Promoting an omni-channel culture within the organization
    • Aligning operations with omni-channel retailing, from supply chain to marketing to distribution
    • Ensuring a unified brand story across all channels that promises a consistently superior customer experience

     Consumer Insights & Analytics

    • Integrating data from disparate sources and making meaning from it
    • Integrating the various customer data: POS, syndicated data, social data, market survey data, media impressions to create detailed customer profiles and track consumer sentiments
    • Developing and using analytics to understand how changes in spending patterns and changes in marketing activities influence sales volumes
    • Understanding best practices and models for data driven scenario planning
    • Using predictive modeling to better assess discount, price, time frame, product mix and in-store placement
    • Connecting forecast to more consumer information to better sense demand

    Retail Collaboration

    • Collecting, integrating, and analyzing retailer data to improve sales forecasting, identify and meet consumer demand and trends
    • Optimizing space allocation at point of sale
    • Ensuring and optimizing retailer execution
    • Meeting the tech requirements of retailers
  • People

    Talent Acquisition

    • Create a positive first impression with a seamless and consistent candidate application process
    • Find the correct applicant tracking system to match recruiting needs
    • Identify the best medium to source talent and manage openings across platforms
    • Create a proactive hiring approach instead of reactive & prepare to recruit for potential openings (i.e. retirement and succession planning)

    Workforce Lifecycle Management

    • Designing an employee lifecycle program & track internal talent/skills for future business needs
    • Managing staff turnover to avoid high cost of replacement
    • Establishing knowledge transfer processes to secure employee knowledge before they leave the organization

    Employee Engagement

    • Using employee feedback to create change across the business and understand the correct drivers of employee engagement
    • Creating mobile friendly employee systems to allow for self-service (i.e. benefits)
    • Designing a communication platform to express individual needs and concerns while collecting feedback on organizational interests and concerns
    • Engaging remote employees/teams without a physical presence with automated & continual touch points

    Change Management

    • Selling the whole story of why the change is happening within your business
    • Entering a change journey with full transparency
    • Using language and benefit analysis for different audiences
    • Giving just enough information, without overload
    • Understanding your audience – and your company’s ‘’change readiness’’
    • Involving end users from the beginning to understand their challenges
    • Driving social adoption through the behavior of leaders
    • Understanding how usability drives adoption
    • Implementing processes with no training needed and self-evident navigation
    • Ensuring system training is focused on the ‘’why’’ not just the ‘’how’’
  • Manufacturing & Operational Excellence

    Product Safety

    • Understanding best practices in batch management
    • Identifying point of contamination and isolating production lines
    • Understanding best practices for recall management
    • Understanding best practices for food safety incident management
    • Maintaining strict ingredient control & environmental control – records management across batches and lots
    • Optimizing perishability and warehousing


    • Extending shelf life of final products by speeding throughput
    • Monitoring and managing variable nature of yields and product quality
    • Automating traceability of ingredients
    • Understanding best practices for recipe management
    • Dynamically linking material lot and product release controls
    • Integrating quality workflows from time of order to purchasing to production to inventory & finally to dispatch
    • Designing quality, shelf life & planning systems that are both accurate and proactive


    • Optimizing materials consumption &reducing waste
    • Understanding best practices for retailer-specific packaging
    • Integrating and coordinating with customer service, logistics and delivery to improve process and visibility and increase efficiency
    • Increasing collaboration between departments to optimize production capacity

    Assets & IoT

    • Understanding best practices for IoT in manufacturing.
    • Understanding best practices for IoT in product development.
    • Understanding best practices for IoT in customer service.
    • Connecting machines real-time
    • Managing all the new data coming off machines
    • Utilizing predictive data to drive maintenance planning
    • Demonstrating value to/for connected asset management and maintenance systems.
    • Reducing costs through efficiency gains and optimization of operational processes, asset maintenance and field workforce management
  • Technology


    • Understanding how to properly scale advanced mobility and technology solutions
    • Justifying the cost of mobility and deciding which solution to go for
    • Maintaining security around mobility across multiple sites, geographies and devices
    • Determining the level at which your mobility solution captures data
    • Mobility coupled with layered augmented reality solutions
    • Understanding how mobility can improve customer satisfaction
    • Understanding how innovations such as Google Glass are changing the game
    • Tackling situations where there is limited bandwidth to adopt new mobility or technology solutions

    The User Experience

    • Showcasing the current options available within SAP
    • Leveraging SAP Fiori and Personas to get maximum benefit
    • Providing an overview of third party customizable options to achieve user experience satisfaction
    • Understanding which tool could work best to meet your business requirements
    • Blending the right information for your workforce, enabling them to carry out their roles effectively
    • Tailoring the user experience to an individual’s specific role
    • Can the right training overcome usability complaints?
    • Making SAP “invisible”, i.e. so your users don’t know it’s SAP they’re using?
    • Avoiding a poor user experience as a result of a poor implementation

     HANA Platform

    • Understanding what the transition from ECC to HANA looks like
    • Hearing specific customer case studies on implementations
    • Understanding the benefits beyond solving the ‘big data’ problem


    • Understanding best practices for integration across SAP modules.
    • Understanding best practices for integration with non-SAP, best-in-class software.

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