Is the race to acquiring a distinct edge in an overwhelmingly evolving, disruptive, and competitive marketplace best won through digitalization? According to a recent Forrester study, 93 percent of businesses think so.
Much of what is happening in today’s marketplace bears this finding out. From artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud to blockchain, predictive analytics, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT), technology-driven insights are fueling business models and processes with sophisticated human judgment, reasoning, and choice – all of which are hallmarks of intelligent enterprises.
But while operating as an intelligent enterprise is widely considered an achievement worthy of leadership status, it is critical to resist the misperception that this rising business strategy is a destination. It’s not. Instead, it’s a living and breathing vision with no wrong or right way to get started and full of reasons to constantly pivot, adapt, challenge, and reinvent.
No Wrong Way, No Right Way
When talking about the Intelligent Enterprise, I often liken it to the German Autobahn on a day with no traffic jams. There are many different points at which cars can jump on and off the freeway system at speeds that range anywhere from 70 to 120 mph depending on the chosen lane.
Similarly, there isn’t a perfect starting point that businesses can take to transition themselves into intelligent enterprises. It doesn’t matter if the IT landscape is initially on-premise, in the cloud, or within a hybrid world. What matters is the alignment between IT and non-IT functions to drive the business outcomes needed to succeed and improve the experience that customers, employees, and partners receive.
Becoming an intelligent enterprise comes down to an organization’s appetite to absorb the disruption and embrace the growth mindset and cultural shift needed to transform and adapt to a new way of doing things. Companies need to put together a puzzle of people skills and attitudes, business processes, and technologies no matter how deep the evolution.
For example, a human resources team cannot deliver on employee feedback to change a self-service process by merely changing user interfaces, forms, workflows, and appointed contacts. The organizational structure needs to be aligned with the rest of the business – and learn to respond, not react. The company’s growth mindset should evolve and transform. New experiences – for employees, customers, suppliers, and partners – may require a move to the cloud to embrace intelligent technologies and comply with regional requirements.
Every digital initiative is uniquely defined by what a business wants and considers vital to its long-term success. Digital transformation is not something that can be dictated by technology and the partners that deliver it, but what businesses need to provide a better experience. No matter how accurate the return on investment (ROI) calculator or comprehensive the plan, at the end of the day opinions on what success means will differ across the people and organizations impacted by the proposed change.
On the Fast-Track Toward Transformational Outcomes
Shaping a business’s future into an intelligent enterprise takes more than just technology. It also demands preconfigured tools and advisory support that can be trusted by people as they evolve business models, processes, and the overall culture.
At SAPPHIRE NOW, the SAP Digital Business Services organization is set to take attendees through this journey to an intelligent enterprise. While SAP technology serves as the fuel, our best practices, lessons learned, guidance, and support can become a GPS that can help navigate the way.
Carlos Granda is senior vice president of Global Customer Success for SAP.