How To Unlock Your True Digital Potential In The Cloud

Ashok Munirathinam

Your business is constantly hunting for the next innovation – a new service model, process change, or customer experience that moves you one step closer to digital transformation. Like all long journeys, there’s an eagerness to arrive at your destination, but it’s only going to happen one step at a time. Simple, agile tools make it easier to get there.

For large corporations powered by complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, a piecemeal approach to improvements has often been the preferred option. Unfortunately, as many are learning, this will never deliver meaningful progress.

Cloud-based technology has opened up a new world of possibilities with the potential to ease this transformation process. Instead of embarking on infrastructure upgrade projects that are measured in months, or even years, you can get there within weeks.

This frees up valuable resources that can now be deployed on projects that deliver innovation, powered by next-generation technologies like analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning. Japanese telco NTT, for example, has developed an algorithm that estimates bus driver fatigue by analyzing vest sensors.

The predictive capabilities this enables is helping bus companies detect unsafe driving behavior in real time. Keifuku Bus has deployed the technology and can now take steps to improve driving behavior through an intelligent warning system, deciding if and when a driver needs support.

This is just one example of how using data in new ways is creating fresh opportunities for businesses to improve operations.

Overcoming common perceptions

Everyone is talking about moving applications to the cloud, but it’s often easier to know where you’d like to go than it is to actually get there. The potential cost can seem prohibitive and, as with any significant investment, you’re reluctant to spend money on a hypothesis. You want visibility of costs and the ability to scale rapidly when a trial meets expectations.

Lack of focus is a killer. It’s easy to get distracted by the latest technology features and fail to put enough focus on the business outcome you’re trying to achieve. There’s often too much “how” and not enough “why.” Fancy dashboards are pointless unless they’re being used regularly and providing greater business visibility. It’s more important to concentrate on how an innovation will improve the customer experience or underlying business processes. Accountability is vital.

Then there’s the conundrum of demonstrating value without overinvesting in a project. After all, it’s hard to get people behind an idea until they understand how they’ll benefit. At the same time, you can’t really deliver this value until people buy into the idea and support its development. Given this background, expensive, multiyear projects are particularly problematic.

These challenges can sometimes seem like they exist solely within the four walls of your business. But it’s important to remember that many others are facing similar issues – regardless of industry, size, or geographic location – as they transition into the digital economy.

This is why we’ve seen a significant rise in the number of businesses appointing chief digital or data officers. This new breed of executive signals a global commitment to our shared digital future.

They’re charged with strategically transforming a company’s technological vision, bringing other business leaders along for the ride. These digital advocates are demystifying the digital journey, challenging established fears with new ways of tackling old problems.

The next generation

The cloud provides you with a platform for experimenting with new technologies to solve business problems and unlock opportunities. Businesses using or aspiring to use next-generation applications must power those aspirations in the cloud. This is helping customers and partners around the region evolve business processes and transform customer experiences.

For more cloud strategies, see How Cloud Solutions Power Integrated Marketing Campaigns.

Ashok Munirathinam

About Ashok Munirathinam

Ashok leads the SAP Cloud Platform Business Development for Asia Pacific & Japan. He defines target markets, business plans, and Cloud solution roadmaps for key customers & partners in the Region.