“Und Action!” – What I’ve learned from DSAG’s Annual Congress 2019
“Und Action!” is the main tagline for DSAG’s huge congress that took place during September in Nuremberg, Germany. This is a clear call to action, given the world currently is in a turning point, both economically and technologically. Companies must take action if they want to have a good chance to go through the times ahead and there are lots of technology available to be exploited by them if they have a sincere desire to take action.
For a little more than a year now I’ve been living in Germany and had the lucky opportunity to feel the amazing energy of the local SAP community. Here I had been fortunate enough to have access to a handful of very knowledgeable SAP Mentors and been lucky to attend some really insightful SAP Inside Track events.
Besides that, every year happens one of the most important and large-scale “corporate” events of the SAP World, the DSAG Annual Congress (DSAG Jhareskongress, in German).
DSAG if for the German-speaking countries the same ASUG is for the USA and all of America countries. They represent a lot of SAP customers and partners that want and can influence SAP’s strategy and product direction, so it is really important to keep eyes and ears open to what they have to say.
While I am still in my first steps with the German language, I’ve made my best effort to watch the online live streams from the keynotes and to get all the other information I could about what had been presented and discussed during the three days of this important event. The reason for that is I’m pretty sure much of what is relevant for today and for the future in the SAP world has been addressed there from a customer point-of-view.
This was not a deep technical event, so the best approach for me was to capture the ideas and thinking that is going through the minds of those who are successfully embracing innovation and digitization or rightfully asking for the needed changes that can make all of us move ahead faster or easier.
With this blog, I want to share my personal view of what is most important for SAP developers, consultants and partners nowadays.
The most important question from SAP customers clearly is “how can we can best take action to successfully digitize our businesses?”. Every single company is looking to understand how to leverage the currently available technologies, from on-premise modern systems such as S/4 to cloud, mobile, IoT, AI and others. Companies clearly want people who can help them to look at all that and leverage the possibilities to streamline business processes and enable new business models before their competitors do.
We consultants, partners, and developers are presented with the huge but interesting challenge of being aware of how to tie the pieces together and support leaders in both seeing and implementing possible change: designing new ways of making things happen by leveraging the highly valuable data already sitting inside their SAP corporate systems, making it safely mobile using APIs, the cloud platform and mobile apps. Looking also for and finding every opportunity to automate actions and intelligence using RPA and AI models.
Proving the Possibilities
My understanding is that while there are some companies embracing the newest technologies, there are lots more that are not doing it, despite wanting and sometimes urgently needing to do it. The main reason is that giving the first steps seems difficult and out of reach. Maybe there is some fear surrounding the yet unknown new technologies, mainly around the security of much valuable corporate data. But the fact is there are already existing and proven techniques to secure and expose only the minimum data needed to make any business or intelligence process available in the cloud and mobile devices.
The flipside of this problem is that it is increasingly easy, fast and cheap to build a small proof of concept that will enable leaders to go ahead with the most needed digitization. That means the “time to market” of any conceptual solution with the newest technologies can be incredibly fast when compared to the older approaches.
Some customers and partners showcased solutions using SAP Cloud Platform, SAPUI5, SAP API Hub bringing new life to their businesses.
Broader Thinking on Team Building
There are concepts that are new but play a vital role in what is happening in the corporate world. The term “future workplace” means a series of disruptions from the old way of working and managing work that was born during the old industrial era. Companies need forward-looking, competent and always-learning people. On the other hand, people need the freedom to work, learn, grow and keep their private lives working as smoothly as possible while they give their best effort to corporate growth.
Leaders and managers must come to terms with that if they want to hire and keep the best and brightest talent. Flexibility from both sides is key here. When responsible and involved people work with responsible management, flexibility is a necessity and not a problem.
If we look at SAP we can see a series of progressive human relations approaches taking place nowadays. Agile mindsets, distributed teams, digital tools for remote collaboration and rightly balancing responsibilities with flexibilities are the kind of new approaches desired by most of the most competent people I know.
Constant Influx of Innovation
Leaders must prioritize innovation if they want to stay ahead. As it was made clear from the IT leaders presenting in the event, all of them took innovation really seriously. Companies must identify and listen to their most forward-looking people in technology matters. While top leaders are also responsible for supporting the running legacy they also must find ways to relentlessly bring in the fresh air of new possibilities. Today, if you are not an early adopter you are at risk of keep spending a lot of time and money on what will ultimately make your business be left behind.
If you are a corporate leader, I think the best approach is to make a deliberate effort to go out of your zone of comfort and give the first step toward digitization. If you are not or still do not have a “digital mentor”, urgently find one. Keep in mind that you need in your team someone with a broader view, that can understand and mix the old and the new since we are in a transition era. Digital leaders must focus less on operations and more on being trusted business advisors who bring in new technology in a way nobody else could.
If you are a consultant, a developer or an SAP partner, choose one or two new technologies and take your time to find a real business process, business case or business model and use the technology to make it easier, faster, cheaper, mobile, automated or even unnecessary. Then approach some corporation and show your solution.
We are now in the middle of the SAP TechEd season and these events are a big opportunity to go deeper on the technology and have worthy conversations. If you can, go attend at least one of the three editions (Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Bangalore), network and have the goal of going away with at least one project in your mind to experimenting with new technologies and possibilities.
If you plan to attend SAP TechEd Barcelona, let’s take the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas on what is ahead.