If you have been around for the past couple of decades, you’ve probably noticed that the case for digital transformation has changed dramatically.

In the beginning, ideas like digital experiences, ecommerce, automation and the like were viewed as fashionable marketing or sales experiments, with little proof of how they would pay off.

Some companies didn’t pursue digital strategies, some took a ‘me-too’ approach, while others plodded ahead slowly. As the digital opportunity became more real, the imperative for digital transformation changed.

The case for change evolved. Take for instance the case for ecommerce that went from “let’s see what happens”, to “we have to be competitive”, to where it is now: a fundamental and essential business function. Not surprisingly, the corresponding strategies and approaches also changed. Ecommerce went from a stand-alone operation, to a bolt-on for existing channels, to eventually overcome traditional sales operations in many organizations. It didn’t happen to just consumer-facing start-ups, but it included long-standing business-to-business (B2B) organizations selling complex products and solutions.

Forrester estimates that B2B ecommerce will top $1.1 trillion and account for 12.1% of all B2B sales in the US by 2020. As the case for ecommerce gets stronger, so does the need for operational excellence and business integration. The ecommerce environment can no longer stand alone as its own silo or be solely owned by one part of the organization. It needs to be integrated into the core transactional, planning and financial systems of the enterprise. Its relationship to the organization must be integral, strong and comprehensive.

Companies are now at a place where digital transformation is a ‘must have’ to be competitive.

Digital transformation does not just present new opportunities; it ties into fundamental business drivers like core revenue generation, operating income, cash flow, market valuation and profitability. It’s an imperative to delight customers, make transactions and reduce operational expense. All of these metrics are part of the business case for really embracing comprehensive and strategic digital transformation programs.

At SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016, several companies presented their digital transformation plans, strategies and stories, including a leading B2B life sciences provider of equipment and supplies with over 500,000 customers. The life sciences company changed their ecommerce game in a big way by implementing a powerful and enhanced ecommerce solution that integrated into their core systems. With the implementation delivering a simplified, integrated and enhanced ecommerce platform, the company has since created engaging customer experiences, increased revenue, accelerated time-to-market and achieved the scalability to meet its future business goals.

This company made the strong case for digital transformation: this wasn’t about working at the edges of the business but taking on the fundamentals of fulfilling core sales and operations.

This year’s SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando promises to be an exciting and thought provoking event. Like last year, TCS is going to be big and bold with our all-star line-up, showcasing real work we did with real clients, all who are excited to share their successes. Don’t miss it, and certainly don’t miss us.

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