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Next-Gen Technology Separates Digital Leaders From the Rest

Feature Article | October 6, 2017 by Shelly Dutton

Rebuilding an IT landscape from scratch is often a tantalizing thought. It may mean new tools and processes to analyze vast volumes of data in real time and make more-informed decisions.

Perhaps the inclusion of cloud-based models would accelerate the delivery of new capabilities and guarantee secure, continuous operations. Or better yet, the business may decide to take advantage of next-generation technology such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital twins, or advanced analytics.

Of course, to many CIOs’ disappointment, this dream scenario is simply a luxury that most businesses – from the one-man startup to the largest conglomerate – cannot afford. Instead, they reluctantly update an existing IT landscape implemented long ago, when predictable, reliable performance and historical analytics and reporting were the primary requirements.

Unfortunately, most digital transformation initiatives do not bring a level of maturity and competitive advantage that business leadership wants. According to the SAP Center for Business Insight report “SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart,” in collaboration with Oxford Economics, 97% of the 3,100 surveyed executives are not successful in realizing that digital vision.

The Right Technology Separates Digital Leaders from the Remaining 97%

 So what’s happening when business digitally transform themselves? Are they not reinventing their business models and rethinking current industry dynamics? Are strategies not customer-centric enough? Or are developing and recruiting the right talent an afterthought?

While any, or all, of these factors may be the case, it is nearly impossible to resolve them without the use of next-generation technology. The SAP Center for Business Insight study found that digital leaders are betting big on “tomorrow’s” innovations now, rather than implementing what their competitors are using today.

For digital leaders, next-generation technology is not something that will happen within the next 3–5 years – it’s already here. Big Data and analytics, the Internet of Things, and machine learning: a higher percentage of digital leaders are integrating these innovations into their core infrastructure. Through the use of a bimodal architecture, this approach is igniting cost-efficient, powerful transformation.

digital leaders adopt next-gen technology

SourceSAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart,” SAP Center for Business Insight in collaboration with Oxford Economics, 2017.

Next-Gen Technology is a Critical Part of Digital Leadership

Digital leaders are maturing at such a rapid pace that their rivals – small and large – are having a difficult time keeping up. By paying close attention to how technology can impact everything from the customer experience and partner relationship to brand value, employee engagement, and revenue growth, they are reinventing their operating model while responding to market dynamics with improved speed, security, performance, and scalability.

“When it comes to digital transformation efforts, executives can gain valuable insights from their peers who are working in different industries” says Pat Bakey, President of Industries at SAP. “For example, the SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study found that nearly 50% of top executives in the manufacturing industry see investment in digital skills and technology as the most important revenue growth driver in the next two years. Nearly the same percentage of top executives in the professional services and banking industries also said that digital skills and technologies are the biggest revenue drivers to come. This data shows the tremendous opportunity for The more digital leaders evolve, the further advantages they will realize in the future. SAP Center for Business Insight reported that these companies are already earning higher profits and revenues and differentiating themselves more competitively than their peers. In fact, digital leaders cited an expected 23% increase in revenue over the next two years, which is above the estimated 5%–10% growth of the rest of the participants studied.

As digital leaders have taught us throughout this study, technology has advanced well beyond the attributes we loved five years ago. Now, the value of every digital investment is about enabling competitive transformation, not an undisrupted version of the status quo. And the companies that understand this new reality and seize it are the ones who will win in the digital economy.


For more insight on digital leaders, check out the SAP Center for Business Insight report, conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics, “SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart.”

This story originally appeared on the Digitalist.

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