What does 2021 bring for your digital projects?

“Fail fast” will become more than ever the working method of smart companies, according to Philippe Nemery, Head of Solution Advisors at SAP Belux.

Innovation as a way to be more flexible

In a world that goes into lockdown from one day to the next, “first time right” innovations – where you aim for a totally finished solution – are a heavy investment and therefore no longer “feasible”.

ICT departments are now opting for fast prototyping and Minimum Viable products. These digital solutions are certainly not “finished” yet, but you can easily adapt them at an early stage based on feedback from the internal and/or external customer. You quickly know whether you are on the right path or whether you are on the wrong track: that is the “fail fast” approach.

Mock-ups and wire-framing , low code development, scrum, lean start-up… these are all tools and methods that allow you to quickly get results to your customer and test them.

Innovation as a way to be more robust

There are four innovation trajectories that help companies to become crisis-proof.

  • Innovation trajectories that speed up processes. Machine learning speeds up administrative processes and relieves employees of routine tasks. You give your own workforce more room for manoeuvre to work on the real challenges. For example, nowadays you can perfectly automatically screen CVs so that your HR specialists can spend more time interviewing suitable candidates.
  • Innovation trajectories that help you anticipate. A crystal ball would come in handy in these turbulent times. A good second would be predictive analytics and what-if scenario building. Think of financial models that help you predict the feasibility of new services and products or models that match supply and demand.
  • Innovation trajectories that make your company more customer oriented. According to many studies, a priority for 2021. How do you deliver a good digital customer experience? How do you collect digital customer feedback and how do you integrate that feedback into your processes and offering?
  • Innovation trajectories that make you more responsive. With only statistical models you’re not much. You also need to have the right data at your disposal. Every company is part of a supply chain, where you are for one the customer and for another the supplier. Sharing business processes and information within this supply chain digitally ensures that you can react much faster to changes within your supply chain.

Innovation that also helps you in the long term

Nobody wants to pay for innovation twice: once to meet short-term challenges and a second time to adapt those same innovations to your long-term goals.

So, check if your short-term projects stand the test of time. Check your innovation against long-term objectives such as transparency, traceability and impact on your carbon footprint.

Also, internally you have to think long term. Digitization that makes your employees’ lives easier, such as portals and dashboards that group all the information from different applications or applications that facilitate your personal HR administration, are usually well accepted and provide a productivity boost. It will also help you to implement new innovations easier and faster later on.

Digital innovation with which tools?

At SAP, we advise our customers to work on one digital platform. This makes innovation more efficient and faster, across all departments. Everyone works with the same data and data models. Innovations that you have implemented in one department are also available to other departments. Cloud also helps you to scale quickly: start small and scale fast. The new SAP Hybrid Cloud service makes it a lot easier to innovate. And it helps you save costs.