Many people see in cloud computing only the people centric, mobile first and analytic driven applications which can be purchased with a credit card. This would undervalue the transformative power of the cloud.
If your cloud vision is narrowed down to e.g. SFA (sales force automation) or even any cloud CRM – then you need to accept that your applications will be silo-ed and integration to the rest of the business will be ad-hoc at best.
The quick fix of a cloud application can become a long-term business problem when there is no integration between the application and the rest of the organization, especially at a process level.
To truly leverage the cloud for your business, these cloud applications need to be considered in conjunction with a modern platform (PaaS) AND flexible integration capabilities to existing investments. Such a holistic portfolio approach is one that SAP has taken (more details here).
Why Sales Force Automation (SFA) is old school:
First, no sales person want to be automated. They are looking for a solution to ease the pain of using multiple excel sheets. This is why a cloud solution they can purchase with their credit card is so attractive.
Very quickly the questions arise: how do we collaborate between teams, how do we work with marketing, how do we get overall visibility into the pipeline? How do I get actual and in time information about pricing, how do I manage an offer, a proposal, a RFP and even more important how do i get information about skilled co-workers or partners to help me with the deal
Sales force automation tools in the market are often stitched together solutions, missing the fundamentals of good solution design like mobile first and collaboration in context. Proof? try to use collaboration tools that do not provide the context of the business process.
Modern collaborative solutions provide the business context with a clear goal: to orchestrate a deal in the context of the business as a whole:
- You need to think about the broader process and business case, not in silos or niches. Customers want to address: improved customer service, define and market to the segment of one, have a 360 view of a customer and up-sell, etc…
- You need a solution that thinks beyond stitching apps together on several platforms, but a model of flexible consumption that lets you start anywhere and go everywhere – having the full integrated cycle from data and process perspective.
The attributes of a modern social customer engagement solution, also see here how technology enables a new approach crossing silos:
- Collaboration: sell as a team, harness collective wisdom of the experts (also check SAPJam new Work patterns)
- Deep customer insight: anticipate needs, bring new ideas
- Productivity: complete mobile, real-time answers in front of customers
- Designed for Sales Effectiveness: easy-to-use, consumerized
- Prospect-to-Pay: seamless back-office integration for quotes, orders & more
- Industry editions: support your unique buying and selling processes
Why a platform strategy (PAAS):
The platform is where we see the most differentiation in the market. Some are expanding from a niche and acquiring, but are struggling to make it work together. We see players where there are up to seven (7) different platforms being marketed as 1x PaaS. Others use old technology and attach new technology or code to solve it. Both these approaches will have long term scalability issues.
You need to have the drive and chutzpa of innovation to change the game. SAP’s game changer is the SAP HANA Cloud Platform – it provides:
- Application management – to configure, extend your existing solutions and build new ones
- Systems management – to manage all cloud solutions from one place and even in combination to your on premise
- Administration & Monitoring – have you ever solved single sign on across your solutions? Well here it is
- Security – down to the application and database layer, not the wrong mulch-tenancy that creates intermingled or complex solutions
- Innovation power via services as part of the platform:
- Text mining
- Integration services – cloud to cloud., cloud to on-premise, cloud to 3rd party. See examples how it plays out here.
All this innovation inside the platform, with an opportunity for the partner Eco-system to enhance and extend on top of this platform. Needless to say that this builds the perfect glue and transformation engine from on-premise to cloud for customers.
By converging to one platform, existing solutions have an opportunity toexpand way beyond their horizons and new products and services have emerged. But more importantly this innovation platform has not only opened up SAP for faster and better development, it has opened up the innovation of the entire SAP and its Eco-system for solutions in the cloud that solve real business problems – the Cloud for business.
Back to example above for a modern customer engagement solution: We already moved the first solution from the SAP Cloud for Customer portfolio – “day in a life scenario” for making sales people more productive by supporting them how they really work. The innovation platform, our PaaS has brought benefits described earlier – from integration in hybrid landscapes to mobile and analytics just to mention a few – and will ensure all future innovation can be leveraged.
Just think about what you can do with the in Memory technology and the predictive capabilities. There are some radical new applications that can be develop in co-innovation with customers and partners.
Now is a good time to consider whether you want to go down the path of an old school silo’d cloud solution, or whether you want to make a long term investment in transforming your business, by moving to the cloud on a solid platform.
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