As you prepare for the year to come, be sure to keep the following trends in mind and be prepared to see these trends dominate the SAP ecosystem in 2016.
1. Strategic Business Transformations Change the SAP System Landscape
In 2015 businesses were eager to transform themselves to support planned consolidation, modernization and future growth. These plans had a wide ranging impact on SAP systems. In some cases, companies consolidated systems into new data centers or improved their existing processes to support new products, locations, and business models. The biggest transformation, however, was the continued adoption of SAP HANA and cloud solutions.
At SAP TechEd 2015, Dolphin CEO Dr. Werner Hopf spoke with Thomas Wailgum of ASUG News about how companies can prepare for these large scale business transformations. According to Dr. Hopf, by employing data archiving to reduce data in online SAP systems companies can greatly reduce the time and effort needed to realize their strategic business goals.
2. Increasing Importance of Corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance Initiatives
Corporate governance, risk and compliance initiatives remained a high priority for many companies in 2015. Companies were looking for ways to ensure the correct retention rules and process controls were in place to prove that they were in full compliance with legal, fiscal, and industry regulations.
On the data side, leading retailer Big Lots leveraged Dolphin’s data archiving solution with nearline storage to provide fast access to archived data to improve its retail operational reporting and respond quickly to sales tax audits.
On the process side, GE Water and Process Technologies and Pepco Holdings, two customers in the highly regulated utilities and related industries implemented Dolphin’s Accounts Payable solution to centralize and standardize processes and provide greater transparency across the procure-to-pay process.
3. Continued Growth of Global Shared Services
Throughout the year companies continued to consolidate financial and HR processing in shared services centers. Many companies successfully used Dolphin solutions to centralize and standardize processing across multiple business units and regional shared services centers in 2015.
Most recently in an ASUG webcast, Honeywell International spoke of the benefits of using Dolphin’s Accounts Payable solution across its multiple strategic business units processing over 5 million invoices per year.
Tennant Company also spoke about the flexibility that moving to a shared services model has afforded the company, allowing them to “lift and shift” resources to meet different global and seasonal demands.
4.Business and Industry Trends Drive the Need for Specialized Data Management
There were several business trends in 2015 that had certain industries seeking solutions for their unique data management needs.
In the Retail and Utility industries, big data is pushing systems to the limit, requiring frequent archiving and flexible storage solutions including nearline and cloud storage.
In the Oil and Gas and Life Sciences industries, the trend towards divesting major business units had companies looking for ways to economically “carve out” or “cleanse” data from SAP systems. Not only did these companies need to protect corporate intellectual property but they also wanted to reduce the footprint and cost of maintaining SAP systems to secure the value of these deals after the divestiture was complete.
In Manufacturing and many other industries we saw companies look to decommission older systems and content management repositories so they could modernize aging infrastructure and lower IT costs.
5. New Technology Options Add Flexibility and Facilitate Innovation
This year we saw stronger adoption of SAP Fiori and the SAP HANA Cloud Platform solutions. These two technologies help companies add flexibility and advanced functionality to their existing SAP implementations without significant additional overhead. The advanced, modern user interface available with SAP Fiori provides users with a more intuitive entry point for SAP applications, making it easier for casual SAP users to use these powerful tools. It also enables users to access applications from mobile devices and tablets, which is ideal for today’s mobile workforce. Best of all, Fiori applications, such as Dolphin Advanced Approvals can be hosted on the HANA Cloud Platform. This platform enables organizations to quickly add new, innovative HANA functionality on top of their existing on-premise SAP systems, without having to make the full transition to SAP HANA.
I look forward to seeing what other new trends will emerge in 2016!