Digital Transformation – How did we get here and where can we go?
One of the most beneficial moves a company can make today is acknowledge that the world has changed. The technology gap existing between regular users and enthusiasts has been brought closer and I’d argue that the majority user base has increased its geek street cred substantially over the years and in a surprising twist, did so in a willing way! We download apps, find restaurants, and navigate to them all in a process never requiring a training manual or user guide. We become inspired by new fashion ideas coming through our feed and can have them ordered and delivered in time for the weekend. We love these experiences because we feel so empowered by the technology and everything has changed because our tastes and expectations from our technology have evolved so greatly.
How did we get here? The glorious intersection of individual technologies have all evolved in their own way to culminate in this unique epoch of human computer interaction. Imagine a seafood pasta dish you are cooking for friends. The water for your pasta must be salted for your noodles to have flavor and as that cooks, you throw some salmon fillets in white wine. Next, finely chopped spring onions are cooked in some butter and mixed into the white wine that the salmon now has been removed from and a bit of cream is added. What’s happened so far? The pasta became tender, the salmon and wine exchanged flavors, and the spring onions imparted a delicious caramelized taste into your cream sauce. All of these separate ingredients had time to develop separately and are now combined into one spectacular dish, resulting in a fantastic dinner party experience for you and your friends! These distinct evolutions also happened in technology with individual improvements in energy efficiency, hardware/software architecture, and cloud computing all combining to create the technology experience we have today. Digital transformation is the amazing experience users get when previously separate technologies are combined to create new flavors that satisfy and excite our evolved tastes.
SAP recognized these shifts in how our customers and their customers have embraced this new epoch of technology and has built up quite an arsenal of products in its portfolio. It’s been amazing to see the examples of customers trusting SAP as they begin their own digital transformations. LoB solutions such as Concur for Travel & Expense, Ariba for supply chain and procurement, and SuccessFactors for recruiting and development, create best in class digital experiences in the cloud. The power of S/4 HANA allows global juggernauts such as Nestle to track and process 11,000,000 end-user transactions/month. Their trust in SAP’s technology allows their 436 factories in 85 countries to effectively support over $100B in annual revenue. And although adopting each of these individually amazing solutions can result in a significantly improved process, like the spring onions, butter, salmon, wine, and pasta, it is the sum of parts that creates an experience previously not possible.
Imagine a world where a business traveler can jump into an Uber already playing music from their own Spotify playlist, and have that ride expensed automatically in Concur once they are out of the car (already here!). Imagine a world where an automotive manufacturer trusting hybris as part of their digital transformation knows not only when a prospective customer has spec’ed out the options for their dream car but also able to recognize when she comes in for a test drive so a sales rep can bring out a car with those exact options (almost there!). Now, what could it look like for a company who trusts SAP to help completely navigate their entire digital transformation? Their S/4 system may soon be able to recognize low inventory levels but refrains from automatically reordering because their hybris data recognized that consumer tastes have changed and production for this product should stop. SAP is unique in that only it can combine these previously independent technologies to create a dish and experience that is superior to its individual ingredients. These are incredible experiences possible only when companies acknowledge that the world has changed and their digital transformation needs to begin. As I walk through SAPPHIRE and see the enjoyment and realization of potential in our customer’s success stories, I can only become more excited as more customers jump on board with SAP to begin their own digital transformation journey. It will be amazing to see how companies prepare their own dishes to create ultimately amazing experiences for their customers and employees. Bon appétit!