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Author's profile photo Rajen Patel

Two approaches for Digital Transformation by implementing Intelligent Enterprise

Main points:

  • Organizations can benefit immediately by improving efficiencies and building a foundation to build a digital business (irrespective of Greenfield, Brownfield or Selective Data Transfer approach)
  • Modular applications, Universal Data access, Business network and Scalable infrastructure provide a digital backbone for an intelligent enterprise.
  • Critical challenges in digital transformation are for change management on the business and the IT side


Planning for Digital Transformation projects is daunting especially when an organization hasn’t designed future processes and hasn’t acquired the skills to implement technology to implement such processes. The organization needs to run their daily business in an efficient manner while they are embarking on this transformation journey. It will take time before organizations will be able to take full advantage of the new digital platform.

What changed in intelligence enterprise?

In the last 15 years, the Enterprise Resource Planning software industry has gone through major innovations in the key architecture layers e.g. Application, Data, Technology and Infrastructure. to develop a robust digital platform. Intelligent enterprise software uses all these combined innovations that will drive the next cycle of productivity gains and business transformation.


Image 1 – Intelligent Enterprise – elements

Two approaches

Digital transformation can be approached in two manners 1) by improving digitization and 2) by adopting a ‘digital first’ business model.

Organizations won’t be able to utilize all these new technologies to implement ‘reimaged’ processes overnight. There is a transition time for new technology adoption and a wide range of businesses are reengineered for the new digital platform. (When a new video powerful games console is launched, gamers still play old video games designed for the old console until new games are developed and released that can take advantage of upgraded hardware)

It is expected that when organizations will start with digitization (i.e. upgrade platform) they will focus on improving efficiencies to gain immediate benefits. As organizations acquire skillsets to utilize new technologies and adopt new business models digital business transformation will pick up the pace.

Certain backbone office, industry-mandated, and regulated processes in established industries don’t require total reimagination but require better user experience, automation, and analytics ability to take drive the next round of productivity improvement.

Approach 1: Improve Efficiency with Digitization

Organizations have entrenched memory of processes that works (maybe siloed in many cases, but it works). This approach is not about abandoning existing processes but improving them. It’s about creating a digitally better version of itself. It’s about utilizing new technologies on the known business processes and laying a foundation for future ‘disruptive’ transformation initiatives. It’s an incremental approach.

Organizations should take this opportunity to simplify, streamline and standardize processes and underlying data models in this approach.

Organizations can focus on the following capabilities without disrupting the core business processes.

  1. Improve user experience (Fiori)
    • Intuitive user interface (look and feel)
    • Multidevice and multi-channel experience
    • Personalization for better engagement
  2. Improve user efficiency (Automation)
    • Automation of streamlined processes
    • AI-enabled assistance
  3. Utilize data and analytics (Datasphere)
    • In-app analytics and dashboards Forecasting and prediction (across various business domains)
    • IoT integration for physical assets
    • Risk assessments
  4. Improve integration  (Integration, Network)
    • Connected business with partners and customers
  5. Support Sustainabiy initiatives (Sustainability managmnet)
    • Improve environment footprint and support ESG
    • Streamline sustainability reporting

Approach 2: Adopt Digital model to transform

Certain organization or business functions requires a totally new approach and don’t believe that improving existing business processes but design completely ground-up new business processes that are not part of the current business model. This approach involves launching new products and/or services. This transformation can be a revenue enabler (corporations) or value enabler (governments)

  1. Business Network: Process and data integration with the business to support pay-as-you go, subscription, outcome-based buying and selling options
  2. Digital twins/IoT/ Predictive maintenance: Improve asset utilization, supports subscription/utilization-based services offering
  3. Customer or Citizen experience: Self-service that is based on AI/ML to address common scenarios
  4. Support new industry revenue stream: Circular Economy, Blockchain for supply chain traceability, Micro-power grids based on solar electricity generation


Here are some key challenges organizations may face when undertaking digital transformation for large ERP systems:

 Legacy Processes Organizational  Technology adoption

·  Entrenched siloed processes that hardened over the years

·  Lack of clarity on the impact of change as the legacy systems are kept together by a group of technology experts

·  Siloed data and lack of data quality to use data as an asset

·  Lack of scalability

·  Lack of interoperability

·  Lack of clarity on digital transformation objectives

·  Budget and resource constraints

·  Policy and Standards that are not caught up with the reality of the business and technology (e.g. Security, Cloud)

·  Wide variety of fast-changing technology offerings makes it hard to make the right choice

·  Inability to imagine business processes that can be transformed using the latest technologies (e.g. usual suspects AI/ML/Cloud/IoT/APIs/BlockChain etc.)

·  Skillset (mindset) that knows only (focused on) legacy/existing technology



Organizations should use a combination of these approaches based on the business domain they are targeting for the transformation. To reduce risk transformation overload organizations may adopt new intelligent enterprises to improve their existing business processes and take this opportunity to build a foundation by upskilling their workforce and learning technical capabilities that can transform their business.


  1. “Designed for Digital – How to Architect Your Business for Sustained Success By Jeanne W. RossCynthia M. Beathand Martin Mocker (Designed for Digital (
  2. SAP Intelligent Enterprise White Papers – SAP Intelligent Enterprise White Papers | SAP Blogs (Accessed April 22, 2023)
  3. Various links (Accessed April 22, 2023)

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