We are living in an unprecedented time as the world quickly adapts to rapidly changing situations caused by COVID-19. Businesses are forced to adapt quickly to change their products and services to cater to millions of people who are self-isolating across the globe.
Taxi’s are now delivering parcels and restaurants are starting to sell essentials. Breweries are converting their distilleries to manufacture hand sanitizers.
Bringing in innovative ideas has become more important to businesses than ever before.
No one expected millions of people would transition to remote work practically overnight. The transition to remote work may not be that easy for many businesses which never anticipated such a need. As a Solution Advisor at SAP, I engage with different businesses across different industries – Retail, Banking, Insurance, Utility etc. offering them guidance to quickly adapt in the current situation and enable their employees to continue working remotely.
SAP is currently offering a set of tools and technologies to help customers and businesses in these challenging times. I would encourage you to go through some of these offerings to see how they can help your businesses.
In this article, I wanted to focus on 5 topics which I believe are things which can be quickly implemented using SAP Cloud Platform and can have a high impact on the productivity of your employees and at the same time ensure your businesses can adapt to emerging needs and help serve your customers better.
Centralised Access to apps via Fiori Launchpad
Many businesses that rely on SAP S/4HANA or SAP Business Suite to run their core business processes provide access to their employees via a Fiori Launchpad or SAP Enterprise Portal within their premise. Their internal staff would be able to access Fiori apps or SAPGUI based apps within their network to perform their key tasks. With the remote work in place, business need to find ways to expose this capability on the internet to enable their staff to continue their work from their home. Exposing the systems to the internet would require lot of work from the security/IT Team to enable ports/firewall. Moreover, processes wouldn’t be in place to accommodate such changes.
SAP Cloud Platform offers a centralised Launchpad where you can connect your existing applications securely via a Cloud Connector. SAP Cloud Connector is a small software component which can be installed on your premise to setup a SSL tunnel with SAP Cloud Platform. You do not need to open any inbound ports pointing to the on-premise network. Firewall and DMZ remain unchanged. When surfacing SAPGUI based apps, you may use SAP Screen personas to simplify the screens and reduce the number of clicks too. Your staff would be able to access these apps on SAP Cloud Platform using their existing credentials and complete all their necessary tasks.
Mobilise your business processes
Similar to the above scenario, business processes supported by apps in an on-premise based Fiori Launchpad in SAP S/4HANA or SAP Business Suite can be quickly mobilised using SAP Cloud Platform. Leveraging SAP Cloud Connector and SAP Cloud Platform Mobile service, you can quickly expose your Fiori Launchpad with the Fiori Client mobile app available in the iOS/Android app store. Internal staff could install the Fiori Client on their device and login using their existing credentials to access the Launchpad.
If there are new processes which you are looking to mobilise, SAP Mobile Cards provide a zero-code option to mobilise such processes. This is similar to digital wallets you see in Apple and Android devices. You can view business information stacked as card and perform tasks like Approvals. The best part is it supports offline, push notifications out-of-the-box and there are several standard templates for different SAP solutions that you can enable to get started quickly.
We are also seeing businesses rapidly adapting to changing environments and have the need to quickly rollout mobile apps which are consumer facing – for example “Click and Collect”. SAP Cloud Platform Mobile service offers a low-code platform called Mobile Development Kit to enable rapid development of mobile apps. Developers can leverage the drag-and-drop tool along with the Fiori for iOS & Android design language to build enterprise grade mobile apps.
Automate your manual tasks using Intelligent Robotics Process Automation
Due to the current situation many organizations need to deal with establishing new processes and automate them as much as possible for quick turnarounds. Especially, with certain industries and Government agencies, we are getting to see back office teams flooded with thousands of requests each day. SAP’s Intelligent Robotics Process Automation can help automate these tasks across SAP and non-SAP solutions in quick timeframes.
I would encourage you to also have a look at the standard bot contents which are available for SAP S/4HANA and SAP Business Suite in the app store. These can be instantly deployed and executed on you SAP systems.
Provide instant response to customer/supplier queries 24/7 via Chatbots
Chatbots are a great way to ensure your business remains connected with your customers. Whether you are a supermarket, Insurance company or a restaurant, SAP’s Conversational AI on SAP Cloud Platform helps to provide your customers up to date information and helps with placing orders/claims without having someone physically present 24/7. For citizens, many health agencies are beginning to offer chatbots to stay upto date and check COVID-19 symptoms.
Adapt your business processes to emerging needs
Due to the dynamics in the current situation, organisations are adapting their business processes to be able to serve their customers more efficiently. Hotels are getting connected with Government agencies to offer self-isolation packages and Supermarkets are coming up with new processes to support priority deliveries for elderly and self-isolating families.
SAP Cloud Platform offers an agile platform to quickly build apps which can help businesses to perform such scenarios. App developers could build easy create web-based forms which trigger Workflows and based on defined rules, it can trigger automation of certain processes in the backend SAP systems. These apps can have chatbot embedded within them and trigger RPA bots to complete the process in the backend SAP system.
Though it takes just couple of days/weeks to achieve some of the above, in a place where everyone is working remotely, you must be thinking how we get started. Its always easy when you have your business, IT and management teams together in a room to brainstorm and come up with the best approach to either build apps or automate processes.
This is where the aspects of remote design and delivery comes into picture. My colleague Sujit has done a good job summarizing the 5 simple steps to design successful customer projects remotely. I recently came across an offering from an SAP Partner “Bourne Digital” who are supporting their customer base using Remote Design Thinking.
SAP Partners play a critical role in supporting specific customer needs in the current situations. My colleague Amy Cross has documented some of the Remote Worker Initiatives by few SAP partners. Also, don’t forget to check the SAP AppCenter for any apps that help you in the current situation.
Join me in an upcoming webinar where you will get to hear how SAP & Partners are supporting organisations through the Global crisis with SAP Cloud Platform