People and Technology Working Together in Crisis

As the business world continues to adjust with COVID-19 it is important to understand technology’s role in adjusting people’s and businesses’ ways of working.

In our latest episode of The Best Run Podcast, I was fortunate to speak with SAP Vice-President and Global Innovation Evangelist, Timo Elliott. We discussed the ever-shifting world in the light of COVID-19 and the technology solutions that are helping business adjust, adapt, and evolve.

Due to the rapidly developing situations across international governments and businesses, Timo acknowledged that change is not optional for most organisations right now. “Around the globe, people are being forced into more digital transformation in a tighter timeframe than they had ever imagined,” he explained.

“Everybody is facing the same issues: how to embrace the changes with as much confidence as possible. How can companies minimise the risks and maximise the opportunities, to stay resilient now and reinvent themselves in the future.”

“What is important are the same things they’ve always been – how do companies define and focus on their core competency, how can they drive deeper customer relationships, the advantage of new business models, how can they streamline operations, and ultimately emerge stronger than ever before?”

Timo noted that the most critical element at times like this is transparency, which stems from good data. “To make decisions we need to take the data we have available and turn it into reliable insights,” he explained.

“We’ve been talking about the data value equation, in general, ‘amount times quality times usage equals value’. The more data you have, the better the quality, and the more people get to access and use it, the more value you’ll get. I think that’s a good basis for thinking about how organisations can move forward in this environment.”

According to Timo, cloud-based data orchestration allows business to connect that data to create a holistic view of business networks without physically moving it. “These data pipelines connect to business applications, or a data warehouse, or your suppliers’ data, a data lake, or some spreadsheets someone’s pooled together, and you can bring that information together to get a single view.”

At the heart of all this is the breakthrough technology of machine learning, Timo expressed. “Predictive analytics, advanced statistics, machine learning – these technologies have been around for decades, but really in the last few years they’ve made a breakthrough in terms of the computing power available and the quality of the algorithms and the amount of data available.”

“Machine learning technologies are more powerful when you’ve got lots of data to build the models. It’s basically sophisticated pattern matching – it’s not magic or anything like human intelligence. It really is automating complex and repetitive decisions in new ways. This is a huge opportunity for any kind of data leverage. It means, firstly, that we can automate applications.”

Timo noted that automation is not about eliminating roles rather freeing people from repetitive tasks and instead focus on core competencies. “People are the technology you should be maximising right now in your organisation,” he added. “There is nothing more intelligent than people, they’re the only ones that can understand what’s going on – the full context of the environment – and what needs to be fixed to move forward with solutions.”

For times of uncertainty, Timo said, the keys to success are agility and flexibility. “This is an era of constant change, so fast adaption and innovation has to become core competencies for all organisations. Technology is a huge advantage; the organisations that embrace the cloud are undoubtedly better off right now than the companies that still have to have people working on their on-premises data system.”

According to Timo, the biggest area of benefit is taking the power of cloud and integrating it with business processes. “The idea is that you can rapidly adapt and change your business processes without having to wait for new functionality in your core systems. Running your systems in the cloud, you just want to spin up a quick application where you can add new functionality on top of your core foundation quickly and easily.”

Timo said, “For example, you may need a lot of visibility in your supply chain, so you quickly create a mobile application that takes sensor data from your manufacturers, combines it with some core business master data, maybe some location data, and gives you visibility in the end-to-end supply chain.

“Using cloud platforms makes it easier to adopt agile development. Using things like Design Thinking, you can quickly create programs and tests and iterate, so you can learn as you go, based on the feedback of users.”

You can join Timo with other industry experts for SAP Business Technology Experience, a virtual event for businesses looking to build resilience and reinvent during this turbulent time.

“We’re trying to be as helpful, optimistic and forward thinking as possible, Timo explained. “We’re absolutely going to be talking about technology and how it’ll be helping them to the extent that’s possible. We’ll be investigating how the technologies can help people do their jobs better. And then we’re trying to be helpful, look forward to the future.”

To learn more about how this event can help your business unlock the power of Business Technology Platform and data-driven insights – check out this explainer video, visit the event page, or register to attend this virtual event today. Listen to the full podcast episode.

 

 

 

This article originally published on Linkedin