What Does It Take to Become a Next-Generation Business?

(Source Kevin Gilroy, SAPinsider URL)

Next-generation businesses recognise technology as the differentiator in the battle for market share and growth. Quickly accessible, cost-effective, and rapidly deployed, cloud-based solutions are paving the way for enterprises to grow their innovative ideas and gain a competitive edge.

Companies that embrace technology to grow are the companies of tomorrow — they are “next-generation” businesses. These organisations, many of them small and medium-sized, use technology to level the playing field among their global competitors. Technology allows them to focus on their business, and in many situations allows them to completely rethink competitive market dynamics. To gain a competitive edge in the demanding global marketplace requires efficiency, agility, analysis, and, above all, simple technological solutions.

SAP partners are key in this equation, as they understand the unique challenges companies face, such as how to deploy cost-saving cloud solutions specific to an industry. From solution discovery to implementation, to success, partners are instrumental.

Where Growth and Technology Intersect

The greatest strategies often revolve around ideas the market has not yet seen, and ambitious, growth-oriented companies lead the pack in driving innovation. Once the idea moves off the cocktail napkin, the production of that idea requires infrastructure. It also requires technology that can mold around the current work, and scale with it as it grows in size and complexity. This technology needs to keep communication open, finances flowing, production managed, and control intact. Quickly accessible, cost-effective, and rapidly deployed, cloud technology is paving the way for enterprises to grow their innovative ideas.

With software as a service (SaaS) in the cloud, companies do not have to worry about building an in-house IT department or purchasing all the hardware to host memory-heavy programs. The cloud allows next-generation businesses to quickly get ideas up and running, and with tools for collaboration, they can crowdsource information to make their creative ideas even stronger. Ultimately, an idea is only as strong as the platform on which it is built.

An enjoyable user experience is inextricable from SaaS programs. Due to the popularity and ease of use of smartphones and tablets for consuming information, users now expect more from their business software, including one-click solutions, a nice design, and well-attuned features. Understanding and implementing this intuitive and delightful user experience enable organisations to become part of the next-generation landscape. SAP and its partners help organisations set themselves apart by implementing solutions focused on the end user.

With this in mind, SAP has greatly expanded its cloud offerings to be “the cloud company powered by SAP HANA.” And SAP partners work alongside companies of all sizes to help them determine their path to the cloud and implement a cloud solution.1 Cloud environments are simple to set up, easy to use, and include many of the bells and whistles of on-premise software packages. Add improved flexibility, lower costs, and infinite scalability, and you can see why college students and Fortune 500 companies alike use cloud technology.

The cloud not only helps a two-person startup to grow but also enables a midsize company with four locations and 750 employees to expand globally and stay connected in real time. And now, even the largest of organisations can benefit from the cloud’s usability and flexibility.

What’s Brewing in the Cloud

One next-generation company that has had great success with a cloud solution — and with an SAP partner’s expertise — is Avery Brewing Company from Boulder, Colorado. Over the past 21 years, it has grown from producing 100 barrels of beer in a garage to producing 60,000 barrels in a brewhouse. As Avery expanded, production planning became more complicated due to information being scattered among various spreadsheets and papers. It was difficult to make decisions when there were multiple versions of the truth. With an ambitious goal to build a new facility to meet demand and produce 85,000 barrels annually, it became critical to have all data in one central location and accessible in real time.

To tackle this challenge, Avery decided to adopt OrchestratedBEER, a cloud-based solution built on SAP Business One. The system tells brewers what raw materials they need to buy, how much to buy, and when to buy them. OrchestratedBEER does this by integrating data from inventory tracking, accounting, production management, material requirements planning (MRP), supply chain management (SCM), and even customer relationship management (CRM). This results in lower costs, effective inventory management, and more accurate business forecasts.

“The cloud scared me at first,” says Conner Helton, controller at Avery Brewing Company. “The IT background that I have tends to lead toward on-premise everything because I can put my hands around it. Since we’ve made the decision to do it, the benefits have been amazing. It’s simple. My data is safe and secure, and I don’t have to pay an IT manager directly just to touch it. It’s backed up constantly and I can get to it from wherever I have an internet connection.”

Avery was not alone in making this happen. Its SAP industry partner, Orchestra, helped implement SAP Business One in the cloud to make sure the business saw an immediate return. The partners bring regional and industry knowledge and understanding, have an ability to customise solutions to meet specific market needs and are backed by SAP resources.

Neil How
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Neil How

Neil ran his first SAP transformation programme in his early twenties. He spent the next 21 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.

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