The Importance of Being Systematic and Structured with Innovation

Some companies make innovation look too easy. They come up with processes, products, services, and experiences that are unlike anything else. In what seems like a blink of an eye, these competitive innovators reshape customer behaviors, disrupt multiple industries, and make competitors reassess strategic directions – all while tipping the entire marketplace in their favor.

Unfortunately, many companies fall short of delivering such high-impact innovation. Some business leaders blame a lack of creativity, skill, and freedom to experiment, collaborate, and fail. But ultimately, these efforts fail when IT and non-IT organizations do not share a common language that empowers them to collaboratively identify, discuss, and design the application and its impact.

SAP Advisory Services: How Innovation Really Happens

The rhythm and practice of innovation is part technology ingenuity, part enthusiasm, and part political inertia. The latest technologies often serve as the foundation – and sometimes inspiration – of industry-disruptive business models. Mistakes may happen along the way, but these incremental lessons lead to iterative rethinking that helps bring the innovation to life. However, executive-level commitment can wane when the effort fails to deliver the expected outcome within a defined timeline.

Many SAP customers rely on the digital business ideation and modeling service offered through SAP Advisory Services to overcome innovation barriers by opening up lines of communication and collaboration through:

  • Developing new radical ideas
  • Exploring the impact of technologies on the business model
  • Identifying respective market opportunities
  • Creating and refining future business models and processes
  • Reaching stakeholder consensus on the enterprise’s digital vision and strategy

Take, for example, Mapal. The precision tools manufacturer is continuing its legacy of innovation, quality, and cost-efficiency with fast, agile application development and the use of tool data generated by connected customers and suppliers.

Our business innovation service helped Mapal frame and solve a variety of business and IT challenges. It cultivated the company’s collective genius in an unconventional and creative atmosphere of pragmatic design-thinking workshops, pilots, prototypes, road maps, digital working models, and organizational expertise and enablement.

“It was a very worthwhile experience. SAP contributed a lot of know-how,” says Dr. Peter Gantner, CIO of Mapal. “And since we had a similar understanding of the problem, we were able to quickly reach a good solution.”

Ignite Sustainable Value from New Ideas and Strong Innovation Practices

When done well, innovation can bring significant impact and opportunity. However, there’s a high degree of difficulty, complexity, and resources associated with turning a single idea into a breakthrough opportunity to impact the world. It can even take years before the full impact of a concept becomes clear.

But let’s face it, the pace of today’s world makes it impossible – even unaffordable – for any organization to nurture and refine an idea or concept over the course of years or decades. Instead, innovation efforts must be managed across multiple dimensions with a systematic, structured approach keenly focused on delivering outcomes for the business and its customers.


Throughout this series, we will examine how this portfolio blends established applications with emerging technologies, industry and functional expertise, and an ecosystem of innovators to further optimize operations and inspire history-shaping change. Bookmark the series landing page and check it each week. In the meantime, read our infographic, “Accelerate Business Optimization and Innovation with SAP Advisory Services,” or visit our website for an overview of SAP Advisory Services.


Marc-Alexander Winter is service offering manager in SAP Digital Business Services.