We live in an age of technological abundance. New automobiles roll off the assembly line equipped with advanced digital features that few drivers use. Smartphones offer unlimited convenience, yet consumers typically ignore more than half the apps they download. Television viewers, meanwhile, tune in to only seven percent of the channels they pay for.
The challenge of modern life may not be a scarcity of technology, but a failure to make full use of the capabilities already available to us. This holds equally true in business as it does in our personal lives. Consider that, by some estimates, organizations generate 7.7 septillion (that’s 7.7 trillion trillion) gigabytes of data every day but analyze a mere 10% of it. How much value is left uncaptured when data accumulates unexamined?
With the shift from on-premise systems to the cloud, many businesses are beginning to find out. Particularly as organizations navigate the ongoing disruption associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend toward cloud-based platforms has unlocked tremendous value – and unparalleled visibility – across the interconnected operations of trading partners.
Cloud technologies enable access to integrated digital business networks and the data-driven insights they reveal, typically reducing many of the costs associated with core business processes ranging from procurement, supply chain, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) to finance, payments, and external workforce management. But the ease-of-use with which cloud technologies lend agility to these operational processes can actually obscure the immense scope and scale of the digital capabilities they make possible. After all, if the average smartphone is a million times more powerful than the Apollo Guidance Computer that landed men on the moon, then imagine how transformative the cloud-based systems that shape the digital infrastructure of today’s global enterprises are.
Most businesses have yet to uncover the enormity of value inherent in the cloud-based networks that facilitate many of their mission-critical operations. That’s why, to deepen competitive advantage to its fullest, businesses seek out not only robust, integrated digital solutions but also unmatched services, support, and expertise to ensure their optimal application.
Years ago, when business technology systems were largely self-contained, organizations could rely on a small, dedicated team of specialists to manage their technology needs internally. But the terrain has shifted since then. Today, everyone in an organization requires technology skills to perform their role effectively. Software providers must cater to the varied personas throughout the enterprise. In a cloud environment, where innovations arrive digitally and collaboration occurs likewise, enterprises must decentralize their approach to managing technology infrastructure, aided by services and support offerings from external providers and partners, tailored to match the diverse personas responsible for key operational processes.
The cloud is both a repository for innovation and a means for creating it in tandem with trading partners. Services and support offerings can augment returns on an organization’s investment in cloud software at the same time that they extend the lifetime value it delivers, effectively countering the cycles of planned obsolescence to which enterprise software often fell victim prior to the advent of increasingly integrated digital business networks.
In these uncertain times, when capturing the value bound up in data can mean the difference between growth and falling short on promises made to customers, businesses are wise to explore software providers’ wide range of services and support options aimed at reinforcing the enduring, favorable business outcomes that cloud solutions accelerate.
Claudio Muruzabal is president of Cloud Success Services at SAP.