ÜberTech

Digital Transformation, Part 1: Rapid State of Change

Summary:Businesses need to embrace change and innovation, and cloud technologies are the best way to facilitate that transformation.

Innovation is a game changer. There’s a new sense of urgency. We are in the middle of a digital transformation and businesses need to face it – or get disrupted. One message that we hear repeatedly when co-innovating with enterprises across the globe is: “We need to accelerate the pace of change and innovation for us and for our clients.”

And at the heart of this change is the cloud.

But what is digital transformation really about? Have we simply digitized by adopting technology without truly innovating the way we work? Let’s talk about what has changed in business and how a cloud-first and outcome-based approach can help.

Several quarters back, you might have been asking, “Who has a smartphone?” This question is no longer relevant – smartphones are a commodity. This single device has disrupted dozens of companies, enabled millions of applications, and blurred the line between home and work even more than the laptop before it.

For many, the smartphone is the portal to our lives. At the very least, smartphones make one thing clear: we want things instantly. We’ve seen a shift toward delivering outcomes and experiences, rather than features and functions, but I’ll discuss more about this in my next blog.

One big question comes up very often during discussions of digital transformation (#DigitalTransformation): Why is the consumer so much more powerful?

Well, a consumer in today’s network economy can perform tasks that only businesses could do five years ago. Businesses understand that they need to adapt or be disrupted. Think of Uber, Airbnb, and soon, Tesla.

Now let's have a look at the factors without which digital transformation would be impossible to achieve:

Cloud

The cloud is the innovation layer, the platform for rapid development and business transformation. We are coming to a subscription economy, where more and more will be delivered and consumed as a service. Consumers experienced this first and now it’s time for businesses – they expect outcomes, not products, and they need their services scalable, flexible, and elastic.

Data

It is not about big, it is about right. Don't get me wrong – big can be important – but what really matters is what you do with it. The right data, at the right moment of the process, is key. We need the ability to handle structured and unstructured data, but more importantly, to transform it quickly into essential business insights.

Network

This is part of the experience layer that creates a vibrant marketplace for your employees, partners, suppliers, customers (existing and potential), and the public. Collaboration inside and outside your company is essential for managing business transformation.

Devices

When it comes to devices, some only think of mobility, but it is so much more. We have officially entered a post-PC era. We now work and use several devices simultaneously. This will only intensify with the rising popularity of wearable devices like smart glasses, smart watches, smart tags, and so on. Though the Internet of Things is in its early stages, it is already disrupting traditional businesses. Just look at Tesla or the Google car to see what it is really about.

Cloud is impacting everything we do

Cloud computing is having a massive influence on every service, every product, and every user. What the cloud enables companies to do is to really place the customer and end user at the center of their business. With that, customers have the full flexibility to consume what they need, when they need it, and on a simplified, unified, real-time platform.

The distance between the engineer and the end user of the service is now dramatically reduced.

The result of this reduction in the distance between the engineer and the end user of a service is unmatched speed of innovation, simplicity, and reduced time to value. 

How businesses can prepare for tomorrow

When businesses today want to outpace the disruption happening in the market, they need to equip themselves with technology that will help them adapt to change quickly - and the cloud is the spearhead of that. It’s not only cloud computing technology that is the driving force for business innovation; it is the advent of multiple disruptive technologies, like mobile, in-memory computing, and predictive analytics, coming together thanks to the cloud.

Starting with the cloud offers fast innovation tailored to specific business outcomes. Organizations must take advantage of the technology available to them and invest in it to keep their company at the forefront of the digital transformation happening today.

Stay tuned to this blog series about Digital Transformation, as we will share customer examples of transformation done right. Follow us via @SAPCloud and @SDenecken.

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Digital Transformation, Part 4: The Role of Leadership

Digital Transformation, Part 3: The Building Blocks

Digital Transformation, Part 2: What makes it disruptive?

Topics: Enterprise Software

About

Sven Denecken is Global Vice President of Strategy for Cloud Solutions at SAP. He collaborates closely with varied market constituents to supports the strategy of cloud and its alignment with the SAP field organization and ecosystem. Also follow him at @SDenecken.

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