(2 minute read)
Although most businesses had some type of digital strategy in place before the pandemic, many found themselves unprepared to deal with rapid change. This fact became glaringly obvious in the current environment, shining a harsh light on processes and technology that need to be rapidly adapted or modified.
Not surprisingly, the organizations that were further along the path to transformation are adapting to the crisis better than their peers. Their business models and working processes allowed them to pivot more rapidly or accelerate changes already underway. But, sadly, research shows this is a minority of companies.
Welcome to the Age of Acceleration
There’s no doubt the current pandemic is causing disruption and economic uncertainty, but businesses have faced similar situations before and weathered the storm. What makes things different this time? It’s the fact that we’re simultaneously in an age of acceleration that is also causing massive disruption in the business world.
The rate of change for business and technology has been explosive, and it’s only going to get faster. Letting your competitors get there first means they’re better able to pivot when opportunities arise. They start doing things months ahead of everyone else – and that leaves your business vulnerable.
To keep up with the unrelenting pace of change, your business needs to invest in digital technologies so you can get information to employees faster, streamline or adapt operations, and enable your workforce to achieve more with less effort.
The Approach to Digital Transformation Isn’t Working
When the pandemic happened, nearly 70% of companies had digital transformation initiatives in place, but most still found themselves unprepared. It’s clear that the issues they’re facing started well before the pandemic, and they haven’t gone away.
It wasn’t due to lack of spending. According to Harvard Business Review, investments in digital reinvention totaled more than $100 billion between 2016 and 2018. In most cases, the expected results failed to materialize. Why? The primary reason was unsuccessful efforts to scale digital innovations beyond early pilot work.
In the past, digital transformation projects meant locking yourself into a multi-year process. Large pieces of functionality took many months to roll out, with payback expected a year or two later. With frozen or eliminated CapEx budgets, that’s not a possibility anymore.
But standing still, locking down and doing nothing isn’t an option, either. When everyone else is tapping the brakes, this may be your best opportunity to accelerate smartly.
It’s Time for Change
The path forward requires a new approach which must break down barriers, not raise them. It must make your transformation efforts fast, flexible and forgiving. Let’s talk about the concept of the intelligent enterprise. The intelligent enterprises are planning for flexibility and proactiveness, e.g. thinking of scenarios that might happen will position you better to adapt to those changes in a professional and relaxed manner when they actually appear.
In order to empower your business to do so and be an intelligent enterprise, there are useful or even necessary skills as well as technologies that can help to enhance your daily operations and performance. The first step is the mindset and approach. It is not about planning for years down to last detail. It is rather about an iterative and agile approach with regular cross check of the results. The other part of the coin is to use e.g. cloud based offerings in order to obtain more flexibility. The latest generation of technology allows for a modularization of the code and reuse of building blocks like authorization or workflow components. So if you are in need of a certain feature or function, you do not have to build (and test!) everything from scratch. You could and should concentrate on what is generating real business value.
The process to become an intelligent enterprise and the implementation of new technologies won’t disrupt your business, they will support and enhance it. And the Intelligent Enterprise portfolio of SAP is providing a lot of useful pieces for companies using SAP software in order to react and act more flexible on the challenges of everchanging markets! But still there is the challenge to find the right approach for your individual ideas and challenges as no one can implement the whole portfolio, and especially not at once. So if you are interested in how to find your individual path to an Intelligent Enterprise:
Attend our webinar series “Innovation Tuesday” to learn more about innovative technologies, the Intelligent Enterprise, Customer Experience (CX), SAP S/4HANA and cloud-based technologies and get inspired!