Optimism, in general, got a big shot in the arm with the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates. Coming as it did when the news is generally characterized by stories of economic misfortune and gloom, I was reminded that while the rescue of the economy might take a while to be completed, we must all do our part – at least in the optimism department. It is not merely about keeping our spirits up but also to position our enterprises to better compete past the current recession.
In the most recent issue of Business Week (April 20, 2009) there is a bold feature on “The 25 Most Innovative Companies.” The main takeaway from this story is that the most innovative companies are not reining in R&D and continue to pursue avenues that will lead to better products or processes or both. It is no surprise to see Apple ranked at the top of this listing for they have established themselves as forerunners in innovating with products around how consumers use technology. It should also be noted that the list includes Vodafone for its efforts in “reaching out to new partners and finding that open innovation can help it create services and markets faster than it could on its own.”
The last example is one of innovating collaboratively – something that seems intuitive but is only recently beginning to take off with a little more energy. Across various enterprises, such innovation thrusts are becoming more real because the use of technology today allows this to happen more easily. These in turn are becoming additional sources of revenue. After Apple’s iPhone App store we now have BlackBerry App World and Google’s Android Marketplace. All of these reflect to quite an extent the result of innovation that took place outside these companies, within their ecosystems.
Then there are those that have looked at refining existing processes just that extra bit to yield additional benefit, and sometimes competitive advantage. In many cases, it is only a simple matter of looking at what can be done better. It is astounding how often we ignore this simple truth in order to seek out a killer app or killer idea that will bring outrageously immense benefits! In this context, it is important for SAP customers to recognize that they need not look very far if there are challenges they wish to address with technology. I concede that often the answers are hard to come by even if you possess all the right tools. However, this is where the enterprise must rely on its best trusted advisor, its SI partner, to guide and help it to extract additional value from its SAP and other technology investments.
I would ask every business to challenge its IT department and its SI partner to find ways to better use its existing investment in SAP and other technologies to design and deploy refined business process solutions. Unless, you are on a really old version of SAP, there are innovative ways of driving such value. To unlock the value in your SAP and other IT investments, your enterprise will need to embrace new ideas – ideas that go beyond mere cost-cutting in order to establish a sound basis of renewed processes that will yield savings and additional value beyond these troubled economic times.
Are you ready to liberate your organization from the desperation that leads to cost-cutting and bring it to the state where greater value may be realized through innovation?