Creating the Intelligent Company

In our consumer-driven digital economy, the pace of innovation is relentless. It only seems a few years ago that digital transformation was limited to a few well-known industry disruptors like Uber and Airbnb, and before them, Amazon and Google. Today, no company is safe.

As innovation continues to accelerate, we’re entering a new era in which the winners will be defined by their use of intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, cloud, advanced analytics, robotics, and blockchain. The potential impact of these technologies is so great that organizations are struggling to keep up.

Welcome to the Era of the Intelligent Enterprise

This new era of enterprise computing will be characterized by what we at SAP call the Intelligent Enterprise. It’s estimated, for instance, that 60 percent of human tasks will be automated by 2025, and image recognition today has hit 97 percent – which is better than human accuracy at 95 percent! Not surprisingly, some commentators suggest that intelligent technologies could transform our lives as much as the industrial revolution.

So, what is an intelligent enterprise – and how do you become one? As the name implies, this new type of organization leverages intelligent technologies like automation to reduce repetitive tasks and free employees to do more meaningful work. It delivers a best-in-class experience for customers by anticipating and proactively responding to their needs. And it can create new business models and revenue streams by monetizing data-driven capabilities and applying its core competencies in new ways.

All this innovation is fueled by data. Leading companies that are making digital transformation a reality have put data and intelligence at the center of their future. They’re using it to build new capabilities, skills, and technology, and evolving their culture to transform into intelligent enterprises that can achieve better outcomes.

Intelligent Technology at Work

There are countless examples of companies around the world that are already leveraging intelligent technology to run better, by creating new business models, delivering an enhanced customer service, and streamlining processes. In turn, they’re delivering on their purpose more effectively and helping to improve people’s lives.

Finance departments across the world, for example, struggle to make sense of the growing mass of corporate data from fragmented systems. Based in the Netherlands, Wolters Kluwer is a leading global provider of professional information services. With its CCH Tagetik software, the company is using Big Data, advanced analytics, and cloud technology to help revolutionize the world of corporate performance management. Similarly, finance teams need to know the tax implications of their business decisions, yet keeping tax and compliance up to date can be a challenge. US-based Vertex Inc has moved to a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) model to deliver a streamlined tax calculation service that reduces the cost of ownership by 50 percent.

In the utilities industry, meter data is the lifeblood of the business – but companies struggle to make the most of these vast amounts of valuable information. Energy and water provider Itron Inc. is intelligently combining Big Data, Internet of Things technology, and advanced analytics on a single real-time platform to optimize operational efficiency and provide a better customer service.

Intelligent technology is also playing an increasingly important role in transforming – and often saving – people’s lives. Based in Austria, Hagleitner Hygiene International has used innovative analytics to move from a commodity product-based business model to a service-based model. This new approach means its customers enjoy higher standards of hygiene and service. Meanwhile, across the border in Germany, advanced analytics technology is enabling biomedicine insights specialist Molecular Health to deliver on its motto: Better Data, Better Insights, Better Outcomes. Powered by in-memory computing, the company is able to analyze a wealth of data on each patient to deliver highly personalized cancer treatment.

Be Ready

This is just a handful of examples of how intelligent technologies can help companies become best-run businesses. They all share three key capabilities:

  • Visibility: Collect and connect data to identify unseen patterns
  • Focus: Simulate the impact of potential options to optimize resources
  • Agility: Respond faster and pivot towards the right customer outcomes

And to achieve these capabilities and become an intelligent enterprise, of course, you need the right technology components: an application suite that has intelligence embedded, a modern digital data platform, and the ability to leverage intelligent technologies. But wherever you are on your digital transformation journey, speed matters. As SAP CEO Bill McDermott said recently at SAPPHIRE NOW, “Change has never been this fast, but it will never be this slow again.” You need to be ready.