Most businesses view transformation as a move from their current state to a visionary, desired state primarily fueled by adopting new technology and shifting data from one application to another.

But that mindset is only a small part of the bigger evolution story. It is also about digitalizing processes end to end to fundamentally change employee and customer experiences.

The rise of intelligent technologies – from artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and digital twins to augmented reality and the Internet of Things (IoT) – has its advantages. However, businesses cannot discount the potential for additional complexity to be introduced into the IT landscape and rising volumes of data scattered across the enterprise.

Do not be fooled: Overcoming such challenges along the way to becoming an intelligent enterprise has little to do with the variety of technologies being implemented. What matters, first and foremost, is having a business technology platform that serves as a center of gravity for all digital investments and enterprise data.

For SAP customers, the answer to helping ensure that their business technology platform can deliver on that promise is SAP Solution Extensions. The diverse portfolio provides solutions that are specially designed for the four pillars of a trusted, complete, and relevant IT landscape: enterprise content management, data management, data protection, and process mining and optimization.

Intelligent Management and Extension of Valuable Business Content

By extending enterprise content management capabilities across the company, the business technology platform can address the entire information life cycle – from document and records management to information retrieval and collaboration. Additionally, rigorous information security and support are used to facilitate compliance with data privacy and protection regulations.

Connecting e-mails, documents, and other content to core business processes drives significant changes across a variety of organizations, such as:

Human Resources

Create a digitized and centralized employee document management environment that helps reduce costs and increase internal efficiencies. Businesses can improve their employee experience and productivity by deepening collaboration within project teams and eliminating the handover of information throughout the workforce life cycle – from recruiting and onboarding to compliance with regulatory requirements such as multiple document-retention policies.

Marketing, Sales, and Support

Create more unified and personalized customers experiences across in-store or online channels with consistent brand content. For example, customized promotions and communications can be provided during one channel interaction, then cascaded across the omnichannel customer experience – from brick-and-mortar stores to ecommerce storefronts.

Supply Chain

Lower procurement costs by capturing, scanning, and storing all incoming supply chain content, including unstructured information in delivery notes and e-mails. This information can be used to optimize order-to-procure processes and negotiate better deals with suppliers, compare past prices with real-time invoice information, and uncover more opportunities for dynamic discounting.

Strong Governance Across the Master Data Life Cycle

As long as data-driven business models continue to be created and evolve, data migration and governance will remain critical to the operation of an intelligent enterprise. Moving intelligence from one application to another across the business technology platform requires considerable visibility into everything from data volume and relevance to connectivity.

AI and machine learning models help deliver migrations that are fast, hyper-efficient, and affordable. The migration process can be automated by capturing and sharing expertise, context, and insights – setting a valuable springboard for decisions on definition, protection, and security as well as business rules and access authorization. Then, data assets can be intelligently reused while traditional information siloes are obliterated.

Data governance capabilities can then be applied to help ensure data quality and readiness before the new solution – such as intelligent ERP – goes into production. As a result, businesses can mitigate deployment and operational risks while gaining experience with a controlled, nonproductive digital twin of the solution. In addition, they can switch to central governance before or in parallel with the deployment to keep data clean for the long term.

With a single view of their data, businesses can drive information consistency company-wide – whether the business is handling enterprise asset management (EAM) for their facilities or streamlining retail processes. The speed and accuracy of processes and analytics increase with the automation of maintaining and distributing master data, integrating it more tightly, and controlling quality and standards. Additionally, compliance with data protection and security regulations strengthens through governed mechanisms for traceable auditing and change management.

Reliable Data Mapping and Protection

Data is an integral part of business operations in the digital economy. Intelligent enterprises fuel success by optimizing the use of data across all interactions with their customers, employees, and ecosystem partners. With data mapping and protection capabilities, businesses can use data to spur innovation, help ensure data compliance, mitigate risk, and build trusted relationships.

Data mapping and protection enable decision-makers to better leverage data from diverse sources, both structured and unstructured. This approach strengthens the transparency and power of data analytics, instilling stakeholder trust and confidence in the accuracy, timeliness, security, and compliance of the data used.

Gaining new value from personal and sensitive business data, while helping to ensure its security and permitted use, allows businesses to serve trusted and protected data for actionable insights throughout organizations and with ecosystem partners.

Continuous Optimization of Business Processes

Intelligent enterprises depend on mission-critical processes that are fast, profitable, and agile. By providing greater transparency into process execution, process mining and optimization capabilities help organizations understand existing processes better – from how they work and where they need improvement to which best practices are most effective.

Sophisticated discovery, analysis, and documentation foster data-based, continuous improvement. Companies can leverage prebuilt content, analytics configurations, and data connectors from line-of-business applications to the business technology platform in order to monitor performance, identify previously unrecognized process weaknesses, and improve process efficiency, quality, and reliability.

Shape Your Future with Simplicity, Speed, and Integrated Intelligence

When combined with SAP Solution Extensions, a business technology platform can help companies connect processes and experiences in ways that allow employees to act with integrity and confidence and gives customers a reason to keep coming back.

But more importantly, this approach establishes the connected and intelligent foundation needed to support flexible, agile innovation practices that are tremendously essential to succeeding in the experience economy.

Learn more about SAP Solution Extensions at sap.com/solution-extensions.

Next week’s installment will consider how SAP Solution Extensions can take customer experience to the next level by stimulating differentiation and growth.