Article from Dinesh Sharma, Vice President of Digital Economy at SAP. Published in Digitalist.
It is possible to compare a live business to a distributed organism with brains, eyes, and ears everywhere. In the modern enterprise, these “senses” take the form of your employees, suppliers, partners, customers, or assets – essentially, every touch point in your company. These connection points map directly to key functional areas in the organization. Every line of business has been serviced by different enterprise solutions that interact with core systems; but more often than not, they run as silos and reflect machine-like characteristics that are prevalent in the knowledge economy.
It’s not uncommon to use different siloed solutions to handle employees, partner assets, supply chain assets, and customers. But in a world where everything is connected, these four areas are prime for disruption. A Live Business breaks down these silos, bringing enterprise-wide visibility within our grasp.
This opens up an intriguing question: What does the enterprise architecture – which seamlessly connects these systems to deliver success in the digital economy – look like? Connecting your employee and customer solution systems through a traditional back end would limit the delivery.
“What does the enterprise architecture – which successfully connects systems in the digital economy – look like?”
What’s necessary is a platform for digital business that not only has the scale to run your core processes, but is also hyperconnected-aware enough so it can act as a hub that links any part of your business processes together. In turn, a fluid, nimble, real-time digital business emerges – a true Live Business that is ready to succeed in the digital economy.
The four areas of disruption will be subject to ever-changing influences that will consistently stress your core business. By building a digital master on a framework, you can develop, manage, and execute your own digital transformation strategy. Then, you can link the quartet to a digital business foundation, or a digital core, to better understand, embrace, and deliver on the promise of digital transformation.
“As long as digital transformation is carried out only at the front end, it will not provide a reliable basis for building a competitive advantage or withstand the rising competitive pressure,”
Transforming into a connected company will give you unprecedented access to information across your complete business. Gone are the days of requesting staffing plans or asking for financial projections to evaluate new supplier choices. This information will be accessible across the enterprise, which will have a significant impact on how companies are run.
Today’s boards operate on piecemeal information to make critical decisions on the future of the business. Plus, the pressure of digital transformation weighs heavily on the individual members. A recent report by consulting company McKinsey & Company addressed this issue by talking about “increasing their digital quotient” to better understand the underlying technology changes afoot. This is all well and good, but we need to provide the tools and mechanisms needed to take the boardroom out of the knowledge economy and into the digital economy. Efforts are underway to deliver this real-time view to the boardroom.
For those willing to think big, embrace change, move quickly, and organize differently, there are countless opportunities to reap the rewards of the digital economy in industries ranging from healthcare to retail and consumer goods. By embracing the choice to be a Live Business, organizations will be able to respond dynamically – to learn and adapt in an uncertain, ambiguous, and constantly evolving environment.
Neil ran his first SAP transformation programme in his early twenties. He spent the next 18 years working both client side and for various consultancies running numerous SAP programmes. After successfully completing over 15 full lifecycles he took a senior leadership/board position and his work moved onto creating the same success for others.