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The Importance of Being Fast

Feature Article | September 7, 2016 by Kevin Kimber

Parents often tell their children the story of the tortoise and the hare – slow and steady wins the race. But in a digital era, being fast is the key to success, particularly with disruption prevalent in almost every industry.

The industry winners are, if not first, at least fast in making the necessary adaptations to support customers’ increasingly complex demands.

Look at the likes of Amazon Fire TV, they were certainly not the first to realise the need for a digital TV and Movie rental service, but they were quick to meet Netflix on the platform. While Amazon Fire isn’t the market leader in this arena, they are strong competitors that have eaten in to Netflix customer base with a similar offering. Blockbuster, for instance, was made a victim of digital disruption caused by a ‘waiting and watching’ approach that failed to address agile competitors and the changing needs of customers.

For most organisations, this approach is considered a safe strategy. As with any business decision, the need to evaluate the costs and benefits associated with an investment is crucial. This much, I agree with. However the problems arise when lengthy implementations and employee adoption prevents businesses from realising the full potential of their technology investments.

This issue is often a key deterrent for businesses looking to implement digital solutions to revolutionise their business processes. Many senior executives fear that they will spend huge amounts of money upgrading their business software, only to be lumbered with a prolonged implementation that doesn’t quite meet the brief and alienates employees.

Understandably, decision makers are apprehensive about the risk associated with these investments. The importance of being fast can be represented by two key factors – cost saving, long term implementation causes a great deal of disruption that often costs businesses money and competitive advantage, quick time to market is essential for organisations to get ahead of the competition. Reflecting on these factors, it is no surprise that businesses are often uncomfortable in undertaking digital transformation.

But, with the latest innovations, it doesn’t have to be like that. Products like SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud afford businesses among many, one huge advantage ­- speed. The platform allows businesses to access a personalised portfolio of applications and software in an optimised and private cloud, using a subscription based model.

In layman’s terms, customers can quickly access the power of applications, with the option to tailor these to their individual business’s needs. This means that the adoption of any new digital investments are accelerated, providing businesses with a quicker route to market, saving time and money in the process.

For example, Triple A ensure citizens across 15 municipalities in Columbia have access to a clean city and drinking water. Triple A vastly reduced its total cost of ownership (TCO) and significantly accelerated it’s time to value by implementing their SAP applications on the HANA Enterprise Cloud.

Ultimately the flexibility afforded by this model, equips businesses with the tools they need to drive their business forward through rapid innovation. Innovation is believed to have contributed over £32 billion to the UK economy, according to a study by Oxford Economics, a feat which generally requires an extensive amount of time and investment to achieve.

However more and more frequently, the likes of digital applications and software, such as those supported by SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, are providing organisations with quick and innovative solutions that generate new revenue streams. When I say this, I genuinely mean these revenue streams can be quickly developed and available on the market, to help businesses drive competitive advantage today.

The NHL were looking for a way to provide fans with access to 97 years’ worth of match stats in with advanced capabilities, such as puck and player tracking to contend with other hockey websites. In order to harness this data and provide customers with the potential to slice and dice statistics for a more personalised analysis of matches, the NHL adopted SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, getting the project off the ground in less than four months. With a 25 % increase in visits to the site, this project quickly addressed competition and offered fans something more from the experience, equating to greater fan engagement and inevitably revenue.

In this information era, customers are demanding more from businesses and they are demanding it now. The ability for an organisation to meet those needs today will put them ahead of their competition. But to get there fast, they must have the technology infrastructure in place to support them in quickly adapting for customers. Engaging in a lengthy implementation process costs time and money, which could be used to create customer value and therefore revenue, so think about how you can accelerate your digital transformation journey.

Kevin Kimber is head of Cloud SAP UK & Ireland

Top image via Shutterstock

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