Will digital disruption force companies, to reinvent themselves? The answer is obviously, a resounding yes! There are ample examples of how ‘digital disruptors’ have changed the paradigms of doing business in some industries.
While some industries have adopted innovation as a reaction to the disruptive forces, this has only given them incremental benefits. There exists a massive opportunity for companies to now look at digital transformation, to reimagine the way they operate in their ecosystem.
So, what exactly is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is much more than just technology. It occurs when organizations use design-thinking opportunities to reimagine their product offering, ways of working and business models and not just their technology platforms. The changing face of consumerization will necessitate a great deal of collaboration within the ecosystem of customers, suppliers and newer ways of working within the organization. Therefore, a key outcome of the digital transformation is the ability to create a differentiated customer experience through newer business models and engagement.
The process of getting to this transformation outcome; is as important as the outcome in itself. For the process to get initiated it is absolutely necessary to have a strong sponsorship at the highest level in the organization. The sponsor further needs to set the tone that the transformation to grow and improve profitability must happen without business disruption. This is possible when principles of ‘design thinking’ are applied i.e. making the effort to upgrade within constraints.
The concept of “design thinking” was developed by IDEO founder – David Kelley who defined “design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
• The first step of getting the digital transformation journey started is to build the strategic design with its foundations from disruptive insights, the future vision and the desired experience road map.
• The second step is to design principles from the insights need to be flushed out to clearly define the elements of integration, interaction, innovation and service strategy.
• The third step is to engineer the overall digital architecture that is adaptive in nature and provides you the platform for this transformation.
While it is clear that digital transformation is more than technology, it surely has a key role in getting to desired outcomes. There are 3 key pillars of how technology can enable digital transformation:
1. With different Ways of Working
2. Leveraging technologies
3. Enabled by differentiated skills
Getting through the digital transformation requires the organization to adopt different ways of working focused on rapid imagination to rapid prototyping. Methodologies like Agile and DevOps tend towards providing a robust framework to enable adopt to the new way of working.
A myriad of new technologies from Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Big Data, Cloud, Mobile, Social and Analytics provide the leverage to make various new possibilities of customer engagement a reality.
The skills needed to get on to a digital transformation journey are largely around the ability to think creatively along with engineering and operational acumen.
Going digital the SAP way :
To succeed in a digital transformation initiative; it is imperative to have a robust IT architecture that allows you the flexibility of re-imagining your business. It is almost impossible to achieve that with legacy architecture. A key enabler to digital transformation is an open architecture that allows you the flexibility of adding applications or databases where needed; while sticking to the standard as much as possible.
Over the last few years SAP has been incorporating a lot of ‘design thinking’ into their applications through interventions from the The Hasso-Plattner-Institute (HPI) resulting in the SAP S/4 HANA in 2015. Many years ago, it would have been tough to imagine SAP and ‘Design’ to go together but in 2016 – SAP has won many awards for its design including a Red Dot award for FIORI enabled Analytics.
With SAP S/4 HANA, SAP has extensively laid out the Coreplat form to truly enable organizations to achieve their digital transformation goals.
• Re-architected applications leveraging the complete capabilities of SAP HANA to help simplify landscape, processes and eliminating redundancies.
• Decisive user experience to improve user productivity through use of standard and custom Fiori applications.
• Accelerate innovation and extensibility. A stable core platform enables adoption of non-disruptive innovations through Cloud, On-Premise or Hybrid applications.
• Simplified Data model to enable a reduced data footprint in the SAP landscape.
• Inbuilt Analytics to help you stay real time in your decision making.
• Accelerated deployment approach through SAP Activate; embedded with SAP Best Practices and guided configurations.
The S/4 HANA core platform integrates well with the other key pillars of the digital transformation i.e. the Customer, Supplier, Workforce and Assets through a wide portfolio of SAP applications in these areas:
• Customer experience across channels using Hybris and C4C
• Supplier collaboration across multiple spend categories using Ariba, Fieldglass and Concur
• Workforce engagement using Success factors and Field glass
• Assets and IOT through the HANA Cloud Platform
Many organizations have transitioned to SAP’s S/4 HANA proposition to reinvent themselves to realize their digital transformation objectives and change the business paradigm in which they operate.