If you wait a day, you risk falling 10 years behind. That was the consensus of innovators from four market-leading companies who talked about building their intelligent enterprise using the ERP business suite SAP S/4HANA Cloud during a roundtable at the recent the SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference.

Beyond Technologies Goes for International Growth

Long-time SAP Services provider and reseller, Beyond Technologies, turned to SAP S/4HANA Cloud to reduce complexity despite fast growth across three continents. Based in Canada, the company also has offices in the United States, France and South Africa. Moving to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud suite has allowed Beyond Technologies to integrate data from every business process, including finance and accounting and HR.

“We’re running projects using resources from all over the world, and needed to build a solid foundation for future growth in other geographies,” said Alain Dubois, Partner, Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer at Beyond Technologies. “One project can have resources coming from three countries simultaneously. We needed to build a repeatable model we could deploy everywhere with built-in integration in surrounding applications.”

Dubois pointed out that data is crucial for its customers in many industries, especially retail, manufacturing, and life science.

“As we mature, we can embrace AI capabilities ─ being in the cloud it’s easy to take advantage of them,” said Dubois. “The quantity of data generated in industries like retail is amazing. Being able to have it available and actionable for them is key.”

L to R: Frank Westerhof, Enterprise Platform Manager, Shell, Anthoula Madden, Chief Digital Officer at Pladis, Marcello Damiani, Chief Digital Officer, Moderna Therapeutics, Alain Dubois, Partner, Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer at Beyond Technologies
Market leaders discussed creating the intelligent enterprise using AI at SAPPHIRE NOW. L to R: Frank Westerhof, Anthoula Madden, Marcello Damiani, Alain Dubois.

AI Leads Next-Gen Medicine

Intelligent ERP is a perfect match for Moderna Therapeutics as it pioneers information-driven medicines to prevent and fight diseases. The company was up and running on SAP S/4HANA in just four months.

“We wanted to build a solution to help us take advantage of the data we collect, and build efficiencies…for the highest quality in our drug products, and to maximize our learning,” said Marcello Damiani, Chief Digital Officer at Moderna Therapeutics. “The more data we have that’s structured and integrated, the better we can use it to save people’s lives. We now have a holistic view of the science and business sides.”

Using AI, the company is developing personalized cancer vaccines by collecting and analyzing hundreds of thousands of cell mutations. “We need to predict which of those top mutations will trigger the immune system for the best response,” said Damiani.

He added that Moderna Therapeutics is also using AI to calibrate instruments. “We can detect how instruments are used, and make adjustments based on actual usage. With integrated data, we can look at both business and manufacturing problems.”

Cloud is Sweet Spot for Intelligent Enterprise

For global chocolate manufacturer Pladis, the move to the intelligent cloud was a deliberate strategy to create a more customer-focused business model across operations in about 130 markets. Parsing large amounts of data, Pladis can find patterns that drive cost-effective, mass-personalization of products from factory floor to retail store.

“Digital means being able to take real-time information to understand consumers individually, and engage with them in a way that’s relevant and personalized to them,” said Anthoula Madden, Chief Digital Officer at Pladis. “Differentiation of the brand comes from how you use the data and interactions to integrate all the touch points…[AI] frees up people to do the thinking piece and insights. You can ask the right questions because you have the right information.”

Building Digital Core of Energy Industry’s Future

According to Frank Westerhof, Enterprise Platform Manager at Shell, now is the time to move to the cloud to stay ahead of the incredibly fast-changing energy industry. With 90,000 employees in 70 countries, Shell is standardizing processes on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, while focusing on innovation for competitive advantage.

“AI is going to be fundamental for our ERP journey because the world is changing faster,” said Westerhof. “Innovations like AI, structurally simplifying your data model, and exploiting business process architecture using real-time [data] are fundamental to moving to a digital core.”

Westerhof expects AI and machine learning will help Shell do much more with employees. “We’re an extremely capital-intensive business, maintaining a huge amount of equipment,” he said. “If we make our people a lot smarter guided by AI, directed to where maintenance is needed, giving them 100 percent access to latest instruction information…it will make for better, safer jobs. Plant reliability translates to market share.”

AI is clearly not a buzzword for market leaders like these as they use intelligence to build the disruptive enterprises of the future.

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