Today’s CIOs and IT departments are grappling with the challenge of accelerating innovation in today’s fast-paced business environment, and achieving this while closely aligning with business leaders within their organizations.  Successful CIOs have changed the game by re-inventing business processes, collaboratively with business leaders.

As the former CIO of five companies, Mike Bell, has over 30 years of experience in the IT industry, and boasts a resume including companies such as United Distilleries, Forte Granada, Boots Healthcare, Somerfield, and most recently, the European retail giant, Kingfisher. Bell was a guest on the Change the Game and Innovate Faster Than Ever Before webinar, where he shared his insights and IT success by detailing Kingfisher’s journey from having a complex and cumbersome IT landscape, to consolidating, reducing costs, and eventually having IT become a key enabler for success.

Bell began by outlining Kingfisher’s journey and explained how he successfully partnered with his business leaders to transform the way they did business. Bell did this by identifying the operational business challenges Kingfisher was facing (which was partly due to inefficient IT) and then provided solutions that shifted IT from being the second biggest risk, as rated by the organization, to a leading enabler of business transformation.

Bell started the evaluation by using “design thinking,” an approach from SAP Services that evaluates a current business situation, identifies challenges and hurdles, and serves as the starting point to begin scoping a unique solution for the business. A secret to using this approach successfully was bringing a select group of professionals from different business units, beyond just the IT department, into the design thinking workshop. By gaining participation early in the process and inviting the professionals to see and understand the scope of the challenges, acceptance of the proposed solution was much easier when it came to soliciting internal buy-in.

Greg Tomb, executive vice president and head of SAP Services sales, agrees that, “Not only does design thinking open up new ideas, but it gets everyone on the same page,” and that can foster a greater internal understanding, and smoother internal buy-in, which can happen after a proof-of-concept is launched.

Bell admitted that as he went into the design thinking process, he thought that in this area of operation, “data could be more successful – [and] SAP HANA was the answer.”  The IT turnaround was well advanced when it became apparent that SAP HANA offered a significant accelerator both in achieving the IT Operating Model goals but also in bringing forward significant business benefits.

Both Bell and Tomb see the next step for CIOs and IT departments who are currently using SAP HANA, to consider moving toward SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, which was announced to the market at the SAP Sapphire NOW event in May 2013.

SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud is a secure, private cloud infrastructure offered with seamless managed services, giving customers the power of in-memory technology with cloud simplicity and the solution is scalable, secure, and fully managed.

Tomb and Bell believe that once a company migrates to the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud environment, it can be a game changer. In addition to the cloud providing speed and flexibility, companies are not forced to use a predefined landscape, and can address their unique needs where competitive differentiation exists.

And since it is a managed service environment, much of the work to enable enhancements and adopt new innovations is performed in the cloud by SAP, making the process less challenging and less time consuming. For example, processes such as extending a HEC solution seamlessly with Mobile, or SAP Cloud solutions, such as SF, Ariba, or Jam, or enhancing user experience with Fiori UI across an enterprise become much easier. Tomb stressed that SAP wants customers to be “leveraging the latest and greatest from SAP” and that SAP “wants to keep customers up to speed on whatever the most current enhancement packs are… and receive the benefits of the extensive R&D,” which can be easily implemented via enhancement packs that are released every six months.

To learn more about the benefits of using cloud to innovate quicker and how SAP HANA, the cloud, and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud can streamline processes, listen to Mike Bell and Greg Tomb on the replay of the Change the Game and Innovate Faster Than Ever Before webinar as they discuss more about Kingfisher and other successful companies who had success leveraging innovative solutions from SAP. 

Click here for more blogs about SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud.

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