In an exclusive interview, Maggie Buggie, senior vice president, global head of Innovation Services and Solutions at SAP Digital Business Services, explains why innovation is the catalyst for value creation and how market leaders are taking advantage of the fusion of services and products to make innovation real.
Q: What are customers telling you about the meaning of innovation to their organizations?
A: Customers measure the impact and value of technology by the business value it drives for them. This includes better experiences, stronger business outcomes, and moments of truth ─ for their customers, employees, and their entire ecosystem. Innovation is a catalyst for value creation within the experience economy. Innovation is no longer just about cloud or digital. Leaders understand the business possibilities in the context of their customer, workforce, industry, and geography.
Can you summarize the top innovation challenges customers face?
The biggest challenge is having clarity on why they’re innovating. Context matters. Do you have a 360-degree view of your customer? Is this a growth opportunity? Is it an efficiency exercise? Do you need to deliver a single view of the enterprise? How can you create coherence across cloud, digital, and traditional systems? How will you manage performance and traceability? The why provides context to how the company shapes its innovation.
The second challenge is that many customers are confused by the sheer volume of technology choices available. They need a different kind of guidance that typically includes how they consume technology; how different cloud, digital, and platform capabilities interact; and the impact on their end-to-end business processes. They also need to manage the impact of hybrid and complex scenarios on their operating model.
Customers are also challenged to align innovation with current core systems and processes, and to determine their business readiness for taking advantage of the latest capabilities. As always, change management is equally important. People still make it happen!
For all the talk about business model transformation, customers are challenged to get it right. The most successful are those who are clear about how they can monetize their current assets and deliver a seamless, beautiful experience to their customers with new revenue streams to delight their shareholders.
How has the role of services evolved to meet these challenges?
Innovation is fundamentally a services-led space. We’re seeing the fusion of services plus standard and tailored products that will drive adoption of innovations. Customers want to engage on the outcome. Therefore a services team needs to set the stage by helping define a route and path to value, and showing customers how to drive, scale and transform the business with innovations. Customers need the right mix of standard and tailored products to make innovation a reality. For example, Innovation Services and Solutions from SAP Digital Business Services works hand in hand with our customers to help create their road map for adoption of new technologies, guiding them from idea generation through prototype and live, tailored productive solution. We help customers make the right choices so they can transform their business by taking advantage of innovations like machine learning and use of data for insight-driven business.
What should customers expect from their vendors as they move ahead with innovation?
They should expect an ability to engage on the why, as well as a guided approach on the outcome, rethinking processes and commercial business models backed by deep expertise on cloud, digital, and traditional technology.
A services organization also needs to provide diverse teams of expertise, able to make the most of standard solutions complemented by the ability to create new ones. They need to understand the end-to-end impact of innovations — say, between the supply chain and sales and marketing. They also need deep industry expertise to understand how to access and use data. Customers should expect innovations that are easy to consume, competitively priced, highly modular, and focused on outcomes and demand. Remember too, this is a partnership. The best services teams have long-term relationships with customers.
How does the Innovation Services and Solutions team at SAP meet these changing expectations?
Decision-makers are realizing they need to balance their single view of their customers with a single view of their enterprise. For example, if you’re a consumer products company, product traceability needs to travel from sourcing and supply chain through consumer insights for relevant business outcomes. This is the practical application of what we call X (experience) and O (operational) data. As customers increasingly engage in end-to-end business transformation, we have the experts to be their value creation engine in this new environment. Pragmatic to the core, we do the heavy lifting, helping customers explore what’s possible with the intelligent use of technology for tangible business value, delivering tailored solutions to make innovation real.
Follow me: @smgaler