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Author's profile photo Francesco Rovico

Ensuring Readiness before the Transformation Journey

In less than a decade, the way we work has changed, due to both technological innovation and unexpected events, more than at any time in history. We now conduct business in a global, 24/7 marketplace where face-to-face interaction is no longer the primary form of communication. Social media, artificial intelligence, new regulations on data privacy and sustainability, have disrupted traditional businesses and created new opportunities for companies that are willing to embrace digital transformation.
Additionally, as we move into the next decade, the pace of change is only going to accelerate. This phenomenon is creating a substantial pressure on many companies that are now running against time, and their competitors, to succeed in their transformation plan and gain competitive advantage in their industry.
One might think that success in digital transformation would mean to identify and invest in the right technology for each specific industry and business goals. This is however not sufficient, as technology alone will not provide any advantage if not seamlessly embraced within the company functional processes, partner ecosystem, business models and finally, people organisation.

The results of recent studies, performed with more than 1000 participants, have shown that achieving success in a digital transformation program is a surprisingly challenging result and averages only 31% of the cases. For those companies, achieving success means realising at least 28% of the expected outcomes within the first 3 months of project completion and more than 50% in 6 months. One of the most curious conclusions is however how the successful companies have overachieved their expected goals.
This is an indicator how the right goals setting, mindset and respective preparation activities can work as a powerful catalyst during transformation programs.
Overachieving is however only possible when a detailed breakdown of the long-term company goals and strategy is performed in advance. This is a crucial step, necessary to understand how complex, companywide goals (Omnichannel Selling, Resilient Digital Supply Chain, no touch order processing and fulfilment, …) can be achieved by a composition of multiple initiatives spacing around data modelling, integration, process harmonisation and automation. Those initiatives are in fact easier to map to specific, smaller, and more manageable projects where SAP technology can play a key differentiating role, accelerate innovation, and reduce time to market thanks to the many cloud solutions available.
Additional key factors that those studies have highlighted are the very wide scope of the transformation projects, the speed and agility of implementation and the organisational health during and after the project is concluded.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud as digital core and the SAP BTP are already able to cover most of the industry challenges that companies face worldwide. This technology paired together with SAP services and the set of accelerators provided by SAP and its partner ecosystem enable the customer to maximise its chance of success when planning digital transformation.
Moreover, lack of preparation within the customer organisation, as well as a skill gap within the customer EA team could also hinder some more farsighted design decision during the planning phase. It is in fact not uncommon to perceive the risks differently during the project phases, where time and budget constraint can play a strong role when evaluating a bold, but ambitious design decision.
To mitigate those risks and identify all the complementary initiatives, necessary to maximise the chance of success during a digital transformation, it is highly recommended to involve early enough a BTS consultant which will, thanks to its industry and architecture expertise support the customer’s team during the preparation activity.
One important milestone in this regard is the definition of the company’s architecture pillars. This set of documents, which represent the cornerstones of the future landscaped, illustrate the guidelines that will need to be followed to answer many design questions during the design phase. This includes topics like data as a service, an event driven architecture or the master data strategy. Deciding early enough, supported by experienced SAP architects, enables the customer to evaluate the complete impact of such a decision in the landscape and plan for the best approach to gather some results as early as 3 to 6 months after go-live.
Furthermore, by enforcing those guidelines, not only the customer is ensuring that those principles will be maintained comprehensively in the whole landscape and across multiple projects but will also result in a significant saving of time and resources when coming down to the gap design. Those documents, like roadmaps and process maps, should be owned by the customer EA office and be a lighthouse for the continuous innovation and transformation of the landscape.

Generally, SAP services plays a fundamental role by providing both the technical and functional cornerstones to ensure success during a complex digital transformation. This also represents a unique opportunity for the customer EA office to fill the knowledge gap before the project kick off and be seen as an internal lighthouse during the program.
Customers should feel reassured while planning their transformation goals and be bold enough to stretch their expectations which can be, as statistics have shown, often overachieved.

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