Earlier this week, I attended the Best Practices for Chemicals (SAP) Conference hosted by The Eventful Group in Houston. It was a great conference attended by several CIOs including Huntsman, Nova Chemicals, PLZ Aeroscience, and Americas Styrenics among others. There were many great presentations. Here are the top themes:
1. Digital: Chemical companies are embracing digital. Mobile applications, the Internet of Things (IoT), Predictive Analytics, and the Cloud are being adopted by this industry. Agricultural chemical companies are combining sensor data, soil data, and weather information to increase crop yield. HANA is beginning to be adopted as a database and SAP S/4 HANA is also making headway as the digital core. Customers, Suppliers, Employees, and Assets are the four pillars of Digitization.
2. Outcome-based: Chemical companies are also innovating and defining new business models. For example, instead of selling compressors, they are selling “Compressed Air” as a service. It is all about Outcome-based models.
3. Cyber-security: Chemical companies are very concerned about being hacked. Given the nature of the products they make, a cyber attack can be very dangerous. There are regular meetings held where Chemical companies discuss how best to implement cybersecurity.
4. Global Compliance: Chemical companies have to ensure that their products comply with various regulations. Also, they have to register each product in the country where they plan to sell. Regulations change frequently, and it is critical to stay on top.