Living in this new COVID-19 norm can certainly be a challenge, causing more disruption in our personal lives and businesses than we could ever have imagined. But it has also been a test of companies’ abilities to pivot quickly, close gaps, and reimagine how to go to market and ensure a dynamic supply chain. This is where the SAP Services and Support portfolio is helping many businesses around the globe navigate it all.

Words can never accurately describe the events of this year. But the transformation efforts of SAP customers will undoubtedly outlive them all. From moving to SAP S/4HANA to see the path ahead to establishing new business models to prepare for recovery, our customers are closing the gap between expectations and reality – and setting the foundation to make it last.

It’s times like these that make me so proud to be part of a company that’s helping businesses – large and small – overcome unimaginable challenges. Some of our customers are redefining their processes to enhance supply chain efficiency and engage in more transparent customer interactions. Others are manufacturing completely new product lines to fulfill surging demand for nontraditional goods. A few organizations are even responding to today’s healthcare crisis by ensuring every patient has a bed.

No matter how chaotic the world around us may be, the achievements shared by some of these companies are uplifting reminders of the power of innovation and resilience supported by unrelenting commitment and customer focus. And as 2020 comes to a close, I wanted to share some of their stories with you.

A Future Ensured with a Resilient Foundation

For many of our customers, the secret to navigating uncertainty and preparing for the journey back to better economic conditions is building a resilient technology foundation based on SAP S/4HANA. Building intelligent technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and advanced analytics – into intelligent enterprise resource planning (ERP) software transforms business processes with intelligent automation, real-time processing speeds, and a dramatically simplified data model.

For companies such as Royalstar, a fast-paced implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud is accomplished with the assistance of SAP Preferred Success. SAP experts provided knowledgeable guidance on adopting relevant features throughout the preparation stage, as well as regression testing and post-upgrade issue support. Access to exclusive learning content was also included, such as success checks, regular Web seminars, and customer success resources in SAP Learning Hub. All the while, a designated customer success manager coordinated communication between the migration team and Royalstar to help ensure all questions and concerns were addressed promptly and thoroughly.

American Air Filter (AAF) also embarked on an intelligent enterprise transformation with cloud solutions from SAP. The clean air products and systems developer and manufacturer relied on a dream team of talented professionals from SAP and our partner Allgeier, working together under the Customer First approach. The end-to-end customer experience enabled AAF to standardize 10 legacy systems into one ERP platform enabled by SAP S/4HANA Cloud, igniting a significant transformation for its culture. In return, AAF taps into a constant flow of analytics and real-time data to make decisions that simplify its customers’ lives.

Fears Conquered Where Innovation Flourishes

In high-pressure settings, every decision is critical. Such situations call for an empowered workforce fueled with real-time data they can trust, well-defined processes, and insight-driven debates and assessments of potential scenarios – all delivered through a single ERP platform such as SAP S/4HANA.

Consider the experience of Aptar Group, a leading provider of a range of packaging, dispensing, and sealing solutions. With the expertise and guidance of SAP ActiveAttention and SAP Enterprise Support services, Aptar implemented the SAP Integrated Business Planning for Supply Chain solution. This initiative gave its 14,000 employees in 20 countries and manufacturing facilities the insights necessary to innovate packaging technologies that respond to ever-evolving customer behaviors and value on health and home life.

Another prime example of a brand overcoming their fear of disruption is Vistaprint. The custom marketing products e-retailer began deploying SAP S/4HANA across five countries. At the same time, its implementation team collaborated with SAP and our partner TCS remotely across 60 locations during the onset of the pandemic. Two days before going live, Vistaprint shifted its production processes to produce and sell face masks online in response to surging demand for personal protective equipment. Nevertheless, the implementation was still delivered as planned.

For Parkland Health & Hospital System, critical decision-making is a matter of life and death. To replace layers of manual decision-making processes based on nightly reports with day-old data, Parkland developed an ER dashboard with SAP Analytics Cloud, powered by SAP HANA and SAP Cloud Platform. Now, administrators and medical staff are informed with the real-time insights necessary to improve ER wait times and provide access to quality care to even the most vulnerable patients.

HYUNDAI TRANSY also strengthened its decision-making powers by integrating its operations and leveraging real-time insights with SAP S/4HANA. The core automobile components manufacturing arm of Hyundai Motor Group drew on SAP Enterprise Support to explore and follow industry best practices, shrinking its project planning process by 50 percent and energizing its digitalization strategy. SAP experts offered guidance on custom code and data volume management, thorough business and technical analysis of HYUNDAI TRANSY’s SAP software environment, and content and modeling support for integrated process management.

Hope Shines Through Complicated Times

When it comes to overcoming the complexity of constant change, businesses can choose from a wide variety of technologies, providers, experts, and support services. However, in our experience, reaping early and lasting dividends that matter comes down to a single platform for data-driven intelligence, access to relevant expertise and guidance, and a unified customer experience that is highly satisfying.

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Thomas Bamberger is president of Customer Engagement and Experience at SAP.