We are approaching a year of growth since the launch of Cloud Success Services in Asia Pacific Japan. So, what have we learned? And how can customers benefit from these insights?

Learn more about the new normal of cloud transformation, the experience imperative, and how cloud is less successful without people in our chat with Claus Andresen, Head of Cloud Success Services for Asia Pacific Japan (APJ) at SAP.

Q: The past few years have seen businesses deal with enormous change, from the pandemic to impacted supply chains and demands to work from home. What has that meant for digital transformation?

A: Businesses have dealt with a vast range of challenges in recent years. As a result, it’s clear that digital transformation today isn’t your traditional transformation. It’s not even the same as it was just five years ago.

Transformations that may once have been seen as ways to cut costs or drive efficiencies are now long-term, strategic investments that will define the future successes of businesses.

And in line with this, investment is accelerating. For the first time in history, companies will have invested more in digital transformation than in all other ICT initiatives combined. That is incredible. Here in APJ, we make up 30% of the world’s digital transformation spending.

The new normal of digital transformation is based on enterprises migrating to the cloud to solve strategic issues. Cloud offers a simple way to address key business issues: speed, agility, value, and innovation. Organizations gain the agility and flexibility to build infrastructure on the go, rapidly deploy resources, scale quickly, collaborate, and get rid of silos.

And we see three key factors that are defining successful cloud transformations: Simplicity, experience, and people.

You speak with APJ customers who are transforming every day. What does a simple, successful cloud journey look like in this new normal of transformation?

First and foremost, we understand that a simple transformation is more likely to be a successful transformation. Complexity is the enemy.

That’s why we focus on simplifying our customers’ transformations through consolidation and integration. First, we work to consolidate various business touchpoints to get a bird’s eye view of our customer’s departments, functions, suppliers, and customers in the cloud. This approach breaks down barriers between people and processes, facilitating greater collaboration and unlocking the scale and agility of the cloud.

Then we work closely with customers to tailor and integrate a solution to their unique challenges. That means identifying the right cloud, data, and analytics platforms to best suit business needs – whether best-of-breed or integrated single systems. Each approach has its own merits and potential drawbacks dependent on whether you have the IT resources to perform a complete integration, and whether the near-term implementation hurdles are worth it for the long-term business improvements they could provide.

Finally, we focus on optimizing our customers’ core business processes. Streamlining existing business processes and creating new, intelligent processes is key for successful cloud journeys. This includes workflow automation, customer experience management, and advanced analytics.

You mention experience. How does experience tie-in with today’s transformations?

It’s simple. Digital transformation puts experience at the heart of everything.

This isn’t just meaningful and relevant experiences for our customers, though that is critical. It is empowering them to extend that experience imperative to their own customers, their employees, even their partners and suppliers. Gartner predicts 60% of enterprises will transform their business models using this ‘total’ experience by 2026.

By focusing on experience in this way, we create customer lifetime value by embedding choice and convenience at every step. Internally, digitalization enables hybrid work, streamlines processes, and facilitates collaboration. Externally, it reshapes the way businesses engage with customers using data and intuitive platforms to keep them coming back.

End-to-end experience is a real differentiator. Digitally connected, experience-driven businesses see superior performance and value across the board – from attraction to advocacy, and, ultimately, winning in a competitive environment.

Finally, let’s talk about the human element. How do you make sure we don’t forget about the people?

Installing the best technology in the world means nothing without adoption.

Managing change is central to helping people adapt to these new processes, technologies, and ways of working. But, as more organizations digitally transform, the role of change management must also evolve.

The real goal of change management is to establish a culture that embraces change with agility and confidence. This places an organization and its people in a better position to anticipate challenges, mitigate risks, and build up resilience to vulnerabilities. With effective communication about the need for change and its benefits to the organization, more people will adopt changes willingly. You’ll notice a significant improvement in employee performance as people feel better supported and understand why you are making changes.

What do you want people to remember in 2023?

SAP has been at the heart of countless transformation journeys across different industries and degrees of complexity. We understand that getting the greatest value and performance from IT solutions means simplifying and humanizing technology.

The key is focusing on business needs rather than solutions. That means putting simplicity, experience, and people at the heart of your decision-making and ensuring every technology investment improves the way your team delivers success.