Against the backdrop of an increasingly foggy and fast-paced business operating environment, the difference between captains of industry who have wired their enterprises up to latest-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) and those who have not is becoming progressively stark.

The New Rules of the Game

In today’s ever more complex and rapidly evolving business landscape, mastering uncertainty has become the new competitive edge. Agility and foresight are the future currencies of success. Only a firm that truly knows itself and understands its environment is equipped to thrive.

If the past year has taught us anything, it is that the status quo no longer holds. Erstwhile formulas for achievement are losing their shine and can be depended upon no more. As the global pandemic continues to upend legacy business models and expose supply chain fragilities, digital technologies have been levelling the playing field and empowering upstarts to leapfrog long-standing incumbents.

As McKinsey notes, a new breed of champions is now coming to the fore: one that has been primed for speed and excellence of execution. Tomorrow’s winners will most likely share certain characteristics; they will be the most aware, the flattest, the nimblest, and the most digitally immersive.

Taking the Plunge

Faced with such a volatile, opaque, and complicated operating ecosystem, most midcap and large multinationals have already grasped the urgency of embracing change. According to KPMG, a full 72% of businesses have now resorted to disrupting their own sectors just to survive.

Moreover, most recognize the need for faster reaction speeds and greater real-time insight into all aspects of their operations – from procurement and supply chain activities to customer experience management and distribution. The question is no longer whether to transition towards becoming an intelligent enterprise, but when and how.

Adopting cutting-edge digital technology has, of course, been an essential part of this process as data collection and extrapolation are the lifeblood of better insight. One Gartner study reveals that over 69% of companies have been ramping up their digital initiatives in the past year alone, whereas a reported 59% are already exploiting advanced data and analytics to inform strategic decision-making.

A Path Well-Trodden

For many elite companies and aspiring champions, intelligent ERP is already the only game in town. An impressive 86% of the world’s most innovative companies, 75% of the world’s most sustainable businesses, and 52% of the Fortune 500 are, right now, all well advanced in their deployment of SAP S/4HANA.

This picture becomes even more pronounced in the European theatre of operations where a mighty 98% of EuroStoxx, the top 50 blue-chip representations of super-sector leaders across the Eurozone, run the software. Nor is there any sign of let up or slackening of momentum. On the contrary, since 2020 there has been no less than one SAP S/4HANA go-live every single business hour!

Interestingly, the shift to this state-of-the-art software is no longer the cumbersome, disruptive, tortuous process it was once purported to be. What formerly may have been a long, arduous trip for those businesses that didn’t quite fit the template has now become an enlightening journey of discovery accessible to companies of all shapes, sizes, and sectoral flavors.

Graphic: Map of SAP S/4HANA adoptions
Fast adoptions of SAP S/4HANA are occurring all across the globe

Into the Fast Lane

Indeed, undertaking the leap to enlightenment has never been so effortlessly easy and smooth, courtesy of RISE with SAP, a freshly unveiled business-transformation-as-a-service offering that responds to the need for a simplified, flexible route that suits everyone and is fully accompanied every step of the way.

This self-styled “concierge service” to the Intelligent Enterprise has managed to blaze new trails by bundling together the requisite tools, guidance, and support systems needed for any company, irrespective of its starting point, to scale.

Examples now abound of tip-top transitions from all four corners of the planet. One Indian automotive giant with a head count of over 24,000 recently accomplished their metamorphosis to an intelligent enterprise within a mere 17 months, a big brand American retailer of 300,000 in under 10 months, and a British telecom heavyweight in only 16 months.

In a League of Their Own

Software like SAP S/4HANA thus increasingly stands as a critical differentiator in a global marketplace where the competition is narrowing, clarity is in short supply, and opportunities are rife for the taking. Only those endowed with it can keep pace with their peers and their idols, operate at full throttle, and face the future with confidence and poise.

Discover more about SAP S/4HANA and its one-stop enabler, RISE with SAP.


This article first appeared on the SAP Global News Center.