Digital Transformation with SAP

By Jimmy Cherian, APAC SAP Department Head - Volvo IT

As we look around, organizations across the globe are constantly looking at changing or innovating to stay competitive and valuable. And one of the reasons for this is the rapid advancement and acceleration that we see in the technology or digital world. The challenge that this brings is not just that the organizations need to evolve to a digital world, but that it has to integrate these into their end-to-end business processes and at the same time, focusing on the end customer. Hence, it is the business models that may need to change. Achieving this with technology that is able to connect businesses, people, things and machines and ensuring that these indeed have a positive impact is what Digital Transformation is.

Digital transformation is disruptive. The fact that there is a need to change the business models to cater to the customer demands can be demanding. This requires hard changes in the strategy and the operating models. Added to this is that these changes need to be fast and continuous.

SAP and Digital Transformation

Digitizing is one aspect, but there is a need to have a platform for digital transformation. Data volumes are increasing exponentially and more and more devices are getting connected into the business and social networks. A new generation of workforce is emerging where the need is for friendly, easy to use application that can be used anywhere.

These call for a platform that has to manage data – be it structured or unstructured; have the ability to integrate business processes outside the organization (Business Collaboration); and also to work with heterogeneous environments that are inside the organization; have the right customer and employee experience irrespective of the channel used for transaction and be connected to the ‘things’ – be it a sensor, machine or a person. It is also about enabling, extending and leveraging aspects like social media, mobile technologies, analytics and the cloud. A platform - that will integrate all of these in order to transform the business and ensure that these work seamlessly.

With SAP’s HANA platform and the various products based on the HANA platform, enterprises have the right environment to meet these challenges in an agile, simple and all-inclusive manner. It can help the enterprise to innovate and succeed in a world that is digital and connected. With SAP S/4 HANA product, business applications and data models are simplified and industry best practices available with features like real time simulations and decision making ability. Further, SAP Fiori ensures the right user experience that is role oriented.

To take the organization forward in their digital transformation journey, the HANA platform can be leveraged which will empower the organization in the following:

• Have the right user experience irrespective of the devices used

• Simplified business and technology applications for all line of businesses

• Instant insight into transactional and analytical data

• In-memory platform for all data ensuring high performance

• Ability to have multiple deployment options (Cloud, On-Premise or Hybrid)

• Integration for hybrid scenarios as well as with businesses and customers

• Capture, process and manage all types of data. Social, text, spatial, streaming

• Get the best out of Big Data

• Have the stack that ensures the “Things” in the IOT indeed translates to “Outcomes”  across the value chain

• Connect with both business and social networks.

In short, organisations can address the need to innovate and change, with a complete and comprehensive platform for a true digital transformation – one that is simplified with less technology, operational processes and best practices and more importantly, a platform that can do more.

Having the right technology platform is one aspect for Digital Transformation. I believe that the organization also needs to focus on the following:

1. A top down approach with the leadership defining the Digital Transformation strategy and ensuring that these are implemented in a structured way bringing together the key players from all business units. Having a well-defined roadmap that is realistic and achievable.

2. Companies today are global and connected. No one company can work on its own. Building an eco-system where there is tight collaboration, integration and connect with the various stakeholders across the value chain is vital to digital transformation.

3. Having the right team makes the difference, be it the leadership, management, architects or consultants. There is a need to have the right competencies, culture and skills. While organizations bring about technology shifts, it is vital and key that the workforce is also ready for this transformation.

4. Having the best and cost effective transition path from the current environment to the desired environment.

5. An architecture that is scalable, agile, adaptable, secure, efficient and performance oriented.

With Digital Transformation, there is an opportunity and potential for the enterprises to have great business advantage and improvements.  It is a journey and can be a long one and for this, organizations should be prepared and should adapt not just to the changing business and customer demands, but also to the evolution that is happening in the digital world. 

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