Achieving Defence Agility In The Digital Revolution

Jol Keegan

I was privileged recently to present to representatives of the Singaporean Ministry of Defence and the Singapore Armed Forces on how defence organisations can achieve agility amid the current digital revolution.

In that revolution, and in the emerging digital economy, business is being transformed. It’s important for public sector organisations, and particularly defence forces, to understand the revolution and have the right strategy, underpinned by the right technology, to cope with it.

Commercially, the vast majority of CEOs realise it will impact their business, but very few are implementing a plan to cope with it. In some quarters there are predictions that even today’s biggest companies will be on the scrap heap in the very near future if they don’t embrace digital.

So for defence organisations, the battlefield is transforming. Adversaries, particularly non-state actors, are agile and able to innovate and adopt the latest technologies, while national militaries tend to be slow, unwieldy, and encumbered by old-world speed when it comes to procurement and technology adoption.

Meanwhile, we have increasingly constrained military budgets, and we need to do more with less. The right technology, well chosen and well implemented, is one of the few ways we can reduce operating costs while actually increasing capability. It decreases complexity.

Business failure in the private sector is about solvency, the bottom line, and corporate survival. But in the defence context it is mission failure, and in our business that can have a catastrophic impact—and not just on the bottom line. Ultimately, failure to transform digitally can leave us weak and unable to protect the citizens we are charged to defend.

So what opportunities does the digital world offer? First, we must reimagine how we do business, reimagine our operating concepts and the procedures that support them, and reimagine what our people do, including what skills they need and how we enable them.

Clearly, there’s a whole lot of reimagining going on, and at SAP we see that occurring in the frame of having the right digital core and platform. The right platform ensures agility and the ability to innovate.

Our Digital Defense whitepaper offers insight on how to achieve agility and innovation in a world that is transforming through hyper-connectivity, super computing, cloud computing, a smarter world of connected sensors, and how we secure ourselves against growing cyber-threats. We look forward to continuing to support Singapore in achieving such agility for its armed forces.

For more strategies to manage digital disruption, see Navy SEAL Leadership Secrets That Can Help You Win On The Digital Disruption Battlefield.


Jol Keegan

About Jol Keegan

Jolyon brings with him to SAP 27 years of experience in Defence, Government and Industry roles, including Special Forces, Intelligence, Policy, and Program Management. He is responsible for Defence and Public Security across ANZ, building go to market strategies, planning and executing demand generation activities, and being closely involved with accounts in deal support