IT modernization is reaching its peak as ISMAC (IoT-Social-Mobile-Analytics-Cloud) finds its way into every business. This modernization is good but not enough. It is a bit like giving an athlete a shot of adrenalin—the adrenalin augments performance, but it doesn’t help the athlete discover new muscles, new techniques, new strategies and new sport in which to compete. In order to achieve this, the athlete needs a complete transformation, starting with a change in training programs, support systems, mindsets, etc., to discover the body and the mind’s hidden capabilities. A business is no different. Today’s businesses must go beyond modernization and tap into the power of digital transformation to uncover new opportunities and unlock previously hidden business value. To do this, they must apply intelligent technologies such as Automation, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Science, Analytics, Blockchain and IoT at the right places in all their business processes. When combined with Design Thinking, the enterprise has all the firepower it needs for structured innovation.
This isn’t easy to do. You can spend cartloads of dollars in the latest and greatest technology but you cannot unlock business value unless you reimagine business processes. Today’s organizations must bring intense focus to doing this because, for those who do, the rewards are substantial. Among the rewards are:
Being able to offer a personalized consumer experience where each customer can be engaged one-on-one. Adidas, for example, aims to make fully customized shoes using athlete data and robotics, making ‘shoe trials’ redundant and delivering unprecedented comfort[i].
Establishing a connected over a trusted digital ecosystem where businesses can transact with customers, partners, suppliers, regulators, governments across networks in a transparent and efficient manner. An emerging example of this is the utility industry where blockchain is being used in the trading, transmission and distribution of green energy for better transparency (and lowered cost)[ii].
‘Servitization’ of products that allows business to go beyond selling a product by creating services that add to revenue streams across the value chain, from sale to shredder. A classic example is that of IoT-enabled construction equipment that can be leased based on accurate usage information, geo-fenced for operations, and tracked in real-time to ensure contract compliance[iii].
Operational agility that de-risks a business by ensuring it can respond intelligently to internal and external changes. An example of this would be the ability of an enterprise to switch suppliers in real-time based on external demand signals.
Data-driven decision-making where facts, data, AI, Machine Learning and business models are used to simulate outcomes, allowing executives to arrive at intelligent decisions resulting in the best possible outcomes.
A simple and elegant way to achieve this transformation is SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise suite that is purpose built for organizations that are left stranded with legacy systems. SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise suite has changed the fundamental DNA of ERP by ensuring it goes beyond its traditional role of being a mere Systems of Record; it now also functions as a System of (Process) Transformation and a System of Engagement. For businesses keen on a digital future, as a means of creating fresh opportunities and unlocking new value, SAP just made the task of transformation a lot easier.