Over the past few years, we have witnessed huge focus on technologies that enable end-to-end digitalization of business, primarily built on the underlying principle of extreme collaboration. Machine to machine (M2M) communication, in-memory & cloud computing, integrated platforms, social Integration are not just trending terms anymore but are the enablers that are creating value for organizations by adding a notion of ‘Real-time Occurrences’ to their respective businesses.
‘Real time’ business still remains a very tricky term as its relevance differs on a case to case basis. Every stakeholder in a typical business ecosystem has his/her own ‘preferred expectations’ around things that he/she would appreciate happening in ‘Real time’. As an end-customer it might be about getting a personalized offer as soon as he/she walks into a store while for a C-Level executive it is largely about insightful decision making on different functions of the business – for example, liquidity risk management for a CFO, inventory overview & forecasting for a COO, or measuring effectiveness of promotional campaigns for a CMO. Nevertheless, let us admit at this juncture that imagining ‘real time’ business would have been a distant proposition without deep investments made by organizations in their ERP capabilities to digitize and consolidate fundamental operational processes.
Thanks to digitalization of operations, enterprises today are facilitated to define new KPIs to drive operational performance and process adoption rather than looking at the same measures and metrics those they traditionally had in place.
However, the underlying question is how easy is it for organizations today to transition into a digital environment? Till date, the barrier to adoption had been either the manual orientation of processes in itself or responsiveness of information systems supplying these parameters. A faster system that has more data will go a long way to bridging those adoption issues, because newer technologies would be more responsive to the user requirements, thereby providing users with a faster, more effective overall system. This is exactly what SAP’s Business Suite on HANA targets to achieve and we are already witnessing increased adoption which suggests that businesses and technology finally find themselves more aligned to each other and not at cross roads like the old saying goes.
So what is the bottom line? One, we are seeing fundamental changes in the way businesses operate and the way customers behave. Two, the relevant question in such a scenario is not whether an organization wants to be ‘Real Time’ – it is about prioritizing where to start the journey from.
With this view in mind, we recommend our customers to visualize their future business needs and draw a framework for real time business. At the same time our constant advice revolves around adopting a state of the art technology, capable of supporting the innovation required for future business.
It remains a complex journey but as they say – a job well begun is half done.