Since the beginning of the global pandemic, almost every CEO and CIO I have spoken with has told me that even as they respond overnight to highly disruptive events, it is essential that they not only maintain but accelerate transformation.
The current extraordinary circumstances and the uncertain outlook ahead are underlining the imperative to leverage the full power of integrated solutions designed to help businesses operate in the “new now.”
Only enterprises that leverage these solutions will survive and thrive in fast-changing environments, react rapidly to new realities, and make bold decisions with insight-based confidence and integrity.
SAP’s Business Technology Platform is a portfolio of integrated solutions that accelerate the transformation of data into business value. It includes database and data management, application development, integration, and analytics technologies that extend from premise to cloud.
This platform forms the foundation of a flexible enterprise strategy. In conjunction with SAP and other applications, it provides the critical capabilities that drive resilience to the present turbulent conditions and powers agile innovation for the unpredictable environment ahead.
In response to customers’ needs at this time, we have designed three solution packages to help enterprises leverage the power of the Business Technology Platform and achieve the three core competencies of a modern and flexible enterprise: engagement, insight, and automation.
Like many enterprises around the globe, SAP has had to pivot to home working. We currently have 95 percent of our 100,000 people working at home, doing a brilliant job of keeping our 440,000 customers’ businesses running smoothly. They are able to do this not just because of our technology, but because they are committed to helping customers succeed.
One of the ways to maintain employee engagement at a time like this is to communicate well with people. Organizations need to show empathy to people’s situations and keep them well informed. Giving employees access to information on a self-service basis and personalized experience leaves them feeling confident to do their job.
Our first package is an employee communication app created using technology from SAP and Qualtrics to provide employees with accurate real-time facts on COVID-19 as well as guidance on how to cope with the pandemic. The application enables users to collate information from trustworthy sources like the World Health Organization and combine it with specific country data, local government guidance, and their own company policies.
Users can input data about their personal situation to be guided to relevant advice. A conversational artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot makes access to the information intuitive and natural. Analytics allow the enterprise to monitor employee sentiment and manage engagement.
Zuellig Pharma got up and running with the app in just two weeks and are using it to provide essential information to their global workforce 24/7, helping them stay safe and productive.
The next core competence enterprises need is the ability to bring intelligent insight together for rapid response and forward planning. There are two building blocks of this capability: platform and apps.
There is no way an organization can react adequately to fast change if it has a bunch of loosely coupled line-of-business solutions built on different data models. The way to become an agile enterprise is to use modular apps on top of a global platform.
Cloud apps from SAP adopt a single data model to power integrated business processes without the need for expensive third-party integration, and APIs enable partners to connect to non-SAP applications across hybrid landscapes. This is how an enterprise gets the real-time 360-degree insight it needs to make the right decisions.
One group for whom this is particularly challenging at present is retailers, which are currently struggling to reconfigure their business operations for a post-pandemic consumer paradigm.
This particular package uses the solutions within the Business Technology Platform along with a pre-packaged retail industry dashboard to help retailers harness all relevant information for insight-driven decision-making. It offers them a holistic view of their businesses and allows them to model the impact of further changes in operational constraints, supply chains, and consumer behaviour. Likewise, the solutions can be implemented for other businesses such as banks, real estate firms, and hospitality that are restructuring operations for business continuity.
In an even more critical use case, Parkland Hospital is using SAP Analytics Cloud powered by SAP HANA to provide true situational awareness to its ER department, giving real-time insight into patient volumes, bed utilization, and pod assignment.
Innovations with AI will soon be powering the automation of 60 percent of enterprise operational processes. Huge parts of the value chain can already be managed remotely, mitigating the impact of lockdowns.
AI is increasing the intelligence of operational processes by providing alerts and recommendations. One example is flagging up shortcomings in supply chains to COOs, or helping CFOs tweak their tactics in the light of real-time market insight.
Across all industries, AI-powered automation is freeing employees from low-value, repetitive tasks, empowering them to apply their skills to more interesting, higher-value work. Machine learning is helping organizations identify new trends in data so they can adapt and automate their business processes for maximum impact.
Intelligent process management solutions from SAP can help to automate, enhance, and adapt business processes to changing demand. SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation, SAP Intelligent Business Process Management, and SAP Conversational AI services together put digital process automation to work, freeing people to create innovative responses to these challenging times.
One public sector customer is using an intelligent bot from SAP to process short-term allowance requests, which surged from 10,000 to 30,000 due to COVID-19. As a result, the company is processing cases 20-times faster than before. The solution has cut manual effort by up to 90 percent and it paid for itself within a month.
SAP’s Business Technology Platform is empowering organizations in all industries across the globe to reinvent themselves as flexible enterprises.
As Susan Ferrier, group executive for People and Culture at National Australia Bank, one of our customers, said in an interview at SAPPHIRE NOW recently: “We’ve seen this whole crisis unfold across our complete footprint around the world and it’s really been a time for reinvention – of the way we work, the way we connect, and of how our business model works. We got 85 percent of our workforce working at home in two weeks and we’ve had to stand up a new way of communicating with employees. We’re pushing the situation as an opportunity to upskill and reskill through digital learning, especially using the skills inventory that sits in [SAP] SuccessFactors.”
This is a powerful example of how enterprises using the Business Technology Platform can turn the world’s biggest challenges into our most significant opportunities.
Right now, we’re offering solution packages that help you leverage the power of SAP’s Business Technology Platform. Learn more about how they can help you survive and thrive in this extraordinary new ordinary here.
Irfan Khan is president of SAP Platform & Technology.