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100 What Ifs on the Future of Business


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What knew everything about the future of business? Learn more about customer experience, the future of work, the networked economy, insight-driven innovation and resource optimization here:

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100 What Ifs on the Future of Business

  1. 1. ©  2014 SAP AG or an SAP affiliate company. All rights reserved. 1 The Future of Business #100WhatIfs Customer Experience, The Future of Work, The Networked Economy, Insight-Driven Innovation, and Resource Optimization
  2. 2. The Future of Customer Experience Learn More >>>
  3. 3. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… there were no physical stores? #100whatifs “One thing is for certain; nothing is going to prevent the Internet from becoming a bigger and bigger part of retail sales.”
  4. 4. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… you could order shoes made custom for your foot? #100whatifs “Through technology, is it possible to create great shoes that caters both to the consumer’s health and desire for customization?”
  5. 5. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… online orders were delivered in 30 minutes? #100whatifs “Regardless of whether Amazon or UPS don’t actually end up using it… we’re still looking at a world where life-saving medicine or technologies can now be delivered…in a way they never could before.”
  6. 6. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… retailers knew what you wanted to buy as soon as you entered the store? #100whatifs “Precision retailing is the answer. It’s the combination of finely targeted interactions, real-time tracking and analysis, and mobile technology to create an unparalleled shopping experience…”
  7. 7. Customer Experience TWEET THIS you could order anything via Twitter? What if… #100whatifs “With customer service fully transformed into a multi-level approach forcing companies to power phone lines and tweets, the future is now, and when you want to order something, picking up the phone or heading to a website isn’t the only option.”
  8. 8. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… retailers knew everything about you? “Right now, companies seem to be walking the line between awesome and creepy, meaning that some companies are taking“tracking”to an extreme level, and others are doing it just right.” #100whatifs
  9. 9. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… you could keep all your personal information private? #100whatifs “Consumers will begin gravitating toward companies that offer privacy, even it if it’s for a premium.”
  10. 10. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… customer service was always pleasant? #100whatifs “Retailers must focus on a more integrated and strategic approach to building relationships and creating positive customer experiences.”
  11. 11. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… #100whatifs you could design products for the brands you like? “They can crowdsource ideas, opinions and perspectives from anyone, anywhere.”
  12. 12. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… your favorite brands knew everything about you? #100whatifs “From our loyalty cards that we swipe at the supermarket to our online accounts at retailers – we are blatantly sharing information about our habits to retailers who are using the intelligence to tailor their offerings and marketing messages.”
  13. 13. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… something you wanted to buy was never out of stock? #100whatifs “With the right supply- chain analytics in place, retailers can gain access to the real-time insights they need to better predict consumer demand and inventory turn…”
  14. 14. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… you could affect the price of products? #100whatifs “With the ubiquity of connectivity, vendors are suddenly able to use algorithms to change the pricing of their goods and services at a moment’s notice.”
  15. 15. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… shopping in a store was just like shopping online? #100whatifs “This same experience can be duplicated by offline retailers as they strive to make stores more intelligent and understand consumer behavior within a physical space.”
  16. 16. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… everything you bought was exactly what you wanted? #100whatifs “From shoes to shirts to electronics – everything will have the opportunity to be completely customized.“
  17. 17. Customer Experience TWEET THIS What if… #100whatifs you could shop, buy and return without associates? “As these machines and automated practices become more connected and intelligent, the full customer experience, from purchase to service, could be automated to deliver a superior, self-serve customer experience.”
  18. 18. The Future of Work Learn More >>>
  19. 19. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… robots were our co-workers? #100whatifs “Robots and computers are doing more and more of the work that people used to do, and they can even do sophisticated,‘creative’tasks—something we once thought impossible.”
  20. 20. TWEET THIS Future of Work #100whatifs What if… we didn’t have any bosses? “ A flat hierarchy is a complete restructuring of this way of thinking – it’s not a simple change.”
  21. 21. TWEET THIS Future of Work #100whatifs What if… your degree didn’t define your value to a company? “These days, it seems like it’s less about degrees and more about experience and certifications.”
  22. 22. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… video games could help solve the world’s problems? #100whatifs “…the strongest attributes of the game are the ways it teaches the depth of challenges, how to work with different people and personalities, and that actions have consequences.”
  23. 23. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… a millennial ran your company? #100whatifs “Millennials are the future. They are the next greatest generation.”
  24. 24. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… libraries were actually centers for creativity and innovation? #100whatifs “In 2020, the public library will be a concept more than a place. The library will be more about what it does for people rather than what it has for people.”
  25. 25. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… there were no public schools? #100whatifs “In 20 years, almost everyone on the planet will have access to the world’s best educational materials. Almost every subject will be available for free online.”
  26. 26. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… education was about common platforms and not school affiliations? #100whatifs “Everyone I’ve talked with lately believes that online learning is here to stay, and it’s transforming education.”
  27. 27. TWEET THIS Future of Work #100whatifs What if… telecommuting became the future of business? “Having remote and virtual employees is not only a way to get things done round the clock, without commuting, and with hard-to-find skill sets, but is also a way to meet the needs of employees who don’t want to or can’t live near the mother ship.”
  28. 28. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… all projects were crowdsourced? #100whatifs “According to the experts, people who are particularly well trained and have highly specialist skills won’t struggle on the labor market of tomorrow.”
  29. 29. TWEET THIS Future of Work surgeons were trained via virtual reality? What if… #100whatifs “VR will be used in the military, education, and especially situations where people need to gain real-world experience, like surgeons practicing surgical techniques…”
  30. 30. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… every student in the world had internet access? #100whatifs “Within 10 years, our kids will be learning at speeds and with retention levels that will astound us.”
  31. 31. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… education was only provided virtually? #100whatifs “With the disruption of technology, virtual education is becoming increasingly accessible for those looking for an alternative to the traditional education model.”
  32. 32. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… there were no 9-to-5 jobs? #100whatifs “This new, flexible environment might just help us bid adieu to hard start and end times and may encourage employers to embrace an approach where employee performance is measured by outcomes instead of hours of activity.”
  33. 33. TWEET THIS Future of Work #100whatifs What if… corporate culture no longer existed? “Corporate culture, while it may never die completely, it is being reshaped and reformed.”
  34. 34. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… co-working with peers from other companies was your “day at the office?” #100whatifs “Betahaus, designed a shared office space to be exactly that – customized spaces based on the function of the activity, which is aimed at fostering better interactions between office workers regardless of their employer.”
  35. 35. TWEET THIS Future of Work #100whatifs we could rebuild higher education from scratch? What if… “Now, it is time for an education reform – time to evaluate the current education system and review how technology is affecting and changing the learning process”
  36. 36. TWEET THIS Future of Work #100whatifs What if… high school and college were one? “Another potential opportunity for continuous learning is attending tech or business schools focused on targeted tracks instead of just six years of general education.”
  37. 37. TWEET THIS Future of Work #100whatifs there were no laptops in the office? What if… “With a focus on open floor plans and spaces to foster communication, the office is simply a meeting place for people and ideas, but execution can take place from anywhere.”
  38. 38. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… we never met co-workers face-to-face? #100whatifs “The World of Work has changed from one in which everyone sits in the same building to one in which many sit remotely, but share the same values and culture.”
  39. 39. TWEET THIS Future of Work What if… language was no longer a barrier? #100whatifs “That is until the telepresence robot was invented and made on-the-spot translation easier than ever.”
  40. 40. TWEET THIS Future of Work a day at the office was actually a walk in the park? What if… #100whatifs “With the rise of enterprise mobility strategies and companies embracing these policies, this just may be a possibility for more employees sooner than you’d think.”
  41. 41. TWEET THIS Future of Work #100whatifs What if… shared goals resulted in shared compensation? “some companies are turning to alternative salary options that include incentives for overall performance in lieu of individual performance.”
  42. 42. Insight-Driven Innovation Learn More >>>
  43. 43. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation #100whatifs What if… driving a car was a thing of the past? “Three states have already passed legislation on driverless automated vehicles.”
  44. 44. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation #100whatifs cancer was predictable before any symptoms occurred? What if… “These tiny devices can now be printed on silicon and transferred directly onto the skin as‘Biostamps.’”‘
  45. 45. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation #100whatifs What if… there was no crime? “When geo-location was taken into account, several hundred million data points had been collectively crunched to reveal the true face of crime and public safety in one of the most iconic cities on the planet.”
  46. 46. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation #100whatifs social media networks held the keys to life’s information? What if… “With all the social media data that has been openly shared by the billions of users and stored in data warehouses, social networks really do have super powers.”
  47. 47. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation What if… everyone lived more than 100 years? #100whatifs “Nationwide, the centenarian population has grown 65.8 percent over the past three decades, from 32,194 people who were age 100 or older in 1980 to 53,364 centenarians in 2010.”
  48. 48. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation What if… you could get a custom body part? #100whatifs “And when it comes to prosthetics, the recreated body part can be so close to the original that is almost mistaken for the real thing.”
  49. 49. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation you had a real guardian angel? What if… #100whatifs “what if our mobile devices took their responsibilities one step further and became our daily guardian angels that kept vigilance over us at all times?”
  50. 50. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation #100whatifs What if… cities could self-correct? “With cities and government tapping into advanced analytic tools, data modeling, the Internet of Things, and machine-to-machine communications to help become smarter and data-driven, there is an opportunity for us to quickly make predictive and responsive changes to improve our cities.”
  51. 51. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation #100whatifs What if… you could predict fires and stop crime? “The database analyzes the data and ranks buildings in order of their risk of fire, and the NYFD uses the results to decide which building have priority for inspections.”
  52. 52. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation #100whatifs What if… your house knew exactly what was happening to it? “Homes will know if there fire or a carbon monoxide leak and be able to track the temperature throughout the house at different times of the day and different times of the year, and may even know when you need another carton of milk in the fridge.”
  53. 53. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation #100whatifs medical treatments were based on DNA? What if… “Doctors are using this DNA intelligence to determine individual factors that may affect patients differently based on proposed treatment plans.”
  54. 54. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation #100whatifs we could prevent climate change? What if… “Our advancing technology can help us better understand the changing conditions and empower scientists and lawmakers to use data to encourage global solutions that could slow the‘world’s biggest problem.’”
  55. 55. TWEET THIS Insight-Driven Innovation #100whatifs What if… all students had a customized learning plan? “Sophisticated analytics delivered over the cloud will help teachers make decisions about which students are at risk, their roadblocks, and the way to help them.”
  56. 56. The Networked Economy Learn More >>>
  57. 57. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… there were no physical banks? “Customers can also perform transactions…at Standard Bank AccessPoints, which removes the need for customers to travel to branches or ATMs to bank.”
  58. 58. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… our fingerprint was our wallet? “That’s why biometrics—fingerprint, palm and iris scanning, and voice recognition—are looking like the next big thing in keeping our private information private.”
  59. 59. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… cars ordered their own oil change? “As many cars have OBD-IIs that provide very specific diagnostic information to the driver, using the cloud and linking an automobile to the web is a tested idea that can be helpful for any driver.”
  60. 60. TWEET THIS Networked Economy What if… #100whatifs you could help support a child’s dream from across the globe? “But you can download all kinds of objects from the Internet — including toys, tools, and art — and use 3D printers to fabricate them in your home.”
  61. 61. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs we could virtually connect with anyone, anywhere, any time? What if… “This technology could remake education and training in all its forms. Every teacher, every expert, every adventurer can show you what they do and how they do it in real-time.”
  62. 62. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs your train station welcomed you by name? What if… “An example of precision marketing by a non-retail business comes from Montreal, where the city’s public transit system has made precision marketing a key part of its business strategy.”
  63. 63. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs anyone could vote from anywhere and on any device? What if… “…this kind of real time sentiment gathering could even replace traditional polling since you’ll have actual data about how each voter is feeling rather than having to make statistical guesses.”
  64. 64. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… you could put your face on a bar of chocolate? “I predict by next year we will be ordering customized chocolates and candies uniquely designed for our loved ones.”
  65. 65. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… cars could talk to one another? “The Department of Transportation estimates that vehicle-to-vehicle communication could prevent up to 80 percent of accidents…”
  66. 66. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… Hollywood didn’t exist? “Take for example the role of movies in the United States Great Depression. Movies offered an hour and a half vacation from reality. Movies about high society and the rich gave people an opportunity to hope.”
  67. 67. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs robots were a part of our everyday lives? What if… “But what if you could create a computer chip that simulated the neural networking in the human brain? A computer chip that could act, learn and evolve the way a brain does?”
  68. 68. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… digital information were visible? “The Internet (and computer-mediated communication in general) will become more pervasive but less explicit and visible.”
  69. 69. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… social interactions defined a city? “New technologies have enabled lots of new ways to‘datify’our normal activities.”
  70. 70. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs drones not only delivered boxes but also connected the world? What if… “And then there’s infrared cameras. They are now small enough, light enough, and cheap enough to mount on a drone.”
  71. 71. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… a tattoo was more than just a creative expression? “Material scientist, John Rodgers, and his team at at the University of Illinois have created a new class of electronic devices: flexible circuits that are small and robust, biocompatible and designed to last anything between minutes and months before dissolving harmlessly or simply being rubbed away.”
  72. 72. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… your mobile device told you when you’ve eaten enough, rather than your stomach? “They [smartphones] have the potential to boost consumer health by boosting patient adherence, monitoring chronic diseases, providing education, and encouraging healthy behaviors.”
  73. 73. TWEET THIS Networked Economy What if… education was driven by technology? #100whatifs “The leveraging of technology is only accelerating, with implications for primary, secondary, and higher education, as well as for corporate learning.”
  74. 74. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… your jewelry could predict a heart attack? “…the IoT represents is an opportunity for a fundamental change in the doctor-patient relationship, with empowered patients becoming full partners in their care through self-monitoring.”
  75. 75. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs all healthcare data was unified? What if… “All healthcare data should reside encrypted in the cloud, so that no matter where in the world you are, your complete healthcare information is available to the people who need it.“
  76. 76. TWEET THIS Networked Economy What if… car parts were rentable? #100whatifs “Consumers are showing that they really only want to‘have’[or own] things when they’re needed and avoid carrying the burden when they aren’t needed.”
  77. 77. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… aid to the poor could be delivered instantaneously, no strings attached? “GiveDirectly gives money to poor people without any preconditions.”
  78. 78. TWEET THIS Networked Economy your wearable devices sent data to your doctor? What if… #100whatifs “Wearable devices that categorize and track activity and fitness levels will become part of our lifestyles.”
  79. 79. TWEET THIS Networked Economy What if… the mobile network was a channel for charity across the globe? #100whatifs “Recipients [of GiveDirectly] also didn’t tend to blow the money on booze or cigarettes, and many even invested a chunk of what they received.”
  80. 80. TWEET THIS Networked Economy our identity was driven by biometrics? What if… #100whatifs “As this technology expands and becomes adopted for wider use, our biometric data might become an added level of security in evading identity theft and leading a more customized life.”
  81. 81. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… money wasn’t the currency of business “That could mean that virtual currency takes over and options, such as Bitcoin, could become the currency of the future.”
  82. 82. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs energy was free? What if… “…we can‘stop burning up the planet and generate all the energy we need, right where we are, cleanly, safely, and cheaply.”’
  83. 83. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… design replaced manufacturing? “With the rapid innovation of the use and availability of 3D printing, this technology will eventually impact every single industry in some way – led by creative design, not production techniques.”
  84. 84. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs you never saw your surgeon in person, even during the surgery? What if… “…robots have performed more than 1.5 million operations from abdominal general surgery and gynecology procedures to thoracic and lung operations.”
  85. 85. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… just-in-time manufacturing became predictive? “the availability of low-cost sensors embedded across the supply chain will lead to companies being able to implement smart supply chain management and transform just-in-time manufacturing to predictive.”
  86. 86. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs What if… anyone could travel to space? “U.S. space tourist Dennis Tito, paid around $20 million for a week-long stay at the International Space Station.”
  87. 87. TWEET THIS Networked Economy #100whatifs your “doctor” was actually a collaboration of specialists across the globe? What if… “Virtual collaboration has the ability to bring together top talent and specialists who could provide treatment like never before…”
  88. 88. Resource Optimization Learn More >>>
  89. 89. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs What if… we could put a man on Mars? “…the rocket engine would be capable of bringing a team of astronauts and technology to Mars in a quick travel time of 2 to 3 months.”
  90. 90. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs What if… the Caribbean ocean become the next suburbia? “A company out of Florida, Freedom Ship International, announced their plans to build a massive floating city hat could house 50,000 permanent residents across 25 stories of housing and would include entertainment, public safety, and even a small airport.”
  91. 91. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs What if… you could have a weekend getaway among the stars – literally? “Pioneers in the realm of space tourism even propose doing lunar flybys or establishing resorts on the moon.”
  92. 92. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs What if… there was no physical currency? “There are many challenges with virtual currencies, but the one that has gained the most headlines is Bitcoin, which is starting to show serious gains in credibility and growth.”
  93. 93. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs What if… technology could solve the world’s water deficiency? “Its benefits will parallel those for“smart grid”electricity projects, including real-time detection of underwater leaks (so they can be repaired more quickly) and real-time control of water distribution and use…”
  94. 94. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization What if… no food was ever wasted? #100whatifs “With perfect information, we can make as-close-as-humanly-possible perfect decisions about resource utilization.”
  95. 95. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs cars caused no pollution? What if… “When a car’s engine undergoes combustion, fine particles of nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and sulfur dioxide are produced and released into our air.”
  96. 96. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs you could charge your phone with your clothes? What if… “The collection, entitled‘Wearable Solar,’includes flexible solar cells that harness energy from the sun and translates it into juice for your selfie-taker.”
  97. 97. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs What if… we could choose where our taxes go? “People are willing to give close to three times as much when they can target the money.”
  98. 98. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs What if… no one owned a car? “Welcome to the new sharing economy, where rent is truly the new own.”
  99. 99. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs we could mine the moon? What if… “Google wants a company, using a robot, to explore the surface of the mysterious space structure [the moon].”
  100. 100. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization What if… the universe was our next fuel source? #100whatifs “NASA, however, is funneling research into creating antimatter drives that could become fuel sources in the future.”
  101. 101. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs What if… a balloon powered your home? “Joseph Cory and his aerospace engineer partner, Pini Gurfil, created solar balloons made with photovoltaic solar cells, which could power an entire home.”
  102. 102. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization What if… “moon travel” defined commercial business? #100whatifs “A number of startup companies have sprung up in recent years, such as Virgin Galactic, with hopes to create a space tourism industry.”
  103. 103. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs entire cities were run on solar energy? What if… “These top sustainable companies could redistribute their energy and fuel the communities around them.”
  104. 104. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs the source of human energy wasn’t food? What if… “This practice of synthetic biology could be an option for creating food sources when a stable food chain isn’t readily available.”
  105. 105. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization What if… your smartest resources weren’t employees of the company? #100whatifs “Smart resources can be found in newer technologies that allow companies to optimize what they already have and become more efficient.”
  106. 106. TWEET THIS Resource Optimization #100whatifs What if… there were no suburbs? “Millennials are less interested in owning and maintaining (like you do in the suburbs) and more interested in renting and living their lives without as many physical ties.”
  107. 107. ©  2014 SAP AG or an SAP affiliate company. All rights reserved. 107 © 2014 SAP AG or an SAP affiliate company. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or for any purpose without the express permission of SAP AG or an SAP affiliate company. SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG (or an SAP affiliate company) in Germany and other countries. Please see for additional trademark information and notices. Some software products marketed by SAP AG and its distributors contain proprietary software components of other software vendors. National product specifications may vary. These materials are provided by SAP AG or an SAP affiliate company for informational purposes only, without representation or warranty of any kind, and SAP AG or its affiliated companies shall not be liable for errors or omissions with respect to the materials. The only warranties for SAP AG or SAP affiliate company products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services, if any. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. In particular, SAP AG or its affiliated companies have no obligation to pursue any course of business outlined in this document or any related presentation, or to develop or release any functionality mentioned therein. This document, or any related presentation, and SAP AG’s or its affiliated companies’ strategy and possible future developments, products, and/or platform directions and functionality are all subject to change and may be changed by SAP AG or its affiliated companies at any time for any reason without notice. The information in this document is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code, or functionality. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates, and they should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions.