No Digital For A Day. That’s How Some Businesses Still Work

Anja Reschke

Imagine going an entire week – or even a day – without using any digital devices. No smartphone, no tablet, no laptop, no access to apps that you have come to rely on daily. Could you do it? For many people, I doubt it.

People rely so heavily on their digital devices these days that many people wouldn’t know how to function without them. And yet many people still expect their business to continue functioning without digitalization!

“I don’t do digital”

Why is it so difficult to get people on board for digital transformation in the enterprise when they already rely so much on their digital devices in other areas of their life? Well, people often fear change, and the pace of change in the digital economy is accelerating so quickly that it’s hard for many people – and most companies – to keep up.

The whole idea of digital disruption can create supporters and detractors throughout your value chain. But remember that every company – with all of its complexity, silos, doubters, and other obstacles to innovation – is competing against a growing number of agile startups with active supporters taking direct aim at your industry, so you should take action sooner rather than later. As many have said before: disrupt yourself or be disrupted.

Ride the digital wave

The digital economy is gaining incredible momentum, and the digital tsunami is expected to continue flooding most industries, according to the SAP eBook The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World. In the next five years, there are forecast to be more than 6 billion smartphones in use and 50 billion smart things connected to the Internet. The numbers are staggering. Based on this information, it’s not surprising that more than 80% of executives expect to incorporate more digital or virtual interaction with customers, according to the latest IBM Global C-suite Study. That compares to only 8% with plans to incorporate more face-to-face interaction.

So a growing number of business leaders are finding it difficult to ignore these numbers and realize they must transform their company to be successful in the digital economy. If you’re not one of them, how do you expect your business to compete against the rest?

Take action to develop a corporate digital strategy

The unparalleled speed of technological change makes it challenging for many business leaders to grasp all of the implications and full potential of the digital economy, but having a digital strategy is essential. Now is the time to take action, because according to SAP’s Digital Economy eBook, the following fundamental technologies have matured and hit scale together.

  1. Hyperconnectivity: IoT technology using sensors, the Internet, and mobile devices is changing the way companies develop, partner, sell, and service their offerings. Hyperconnectivity is also shaping the way people buy and consume products and services.
  1. Supercomputing: Enterprise systems are shifting from a single cost-performance approach to two distinct paths: in-memory computing and distributed computing.
  1. Cloud computing: The cloud is disrupting business models in many sectors, as it levels the playing field for access to required software and infrastructure and makes information more accessible from anywhere.
  1. Smarter world: Sensors, predictive models, augmented reality, cognitive computing, and 3D printing are creating new outcome-based results.

With all of these technological elements at play, it is easy to see why technology is the biggest driver topping the list for CEOs in the IBM study when it comes to external factors influencing the enterprise. Shouldn’t it be topping your list too?

Convince people to support your digital vision (trick them if you have to!)

Even with all of the benefits of going digital, it can still be challenging to gather support for a corporate digital strategy. If you have trouble convincing the digital doubters and naysayers in your business to embrace your digital vision, just ask them to go without their digital devices for a day, and see if they can actually do it. You might hear a few grumbles, but this little exercise could be enough to convince them that your company can’t function for long without digital technology either.

For an in-depth look at how the digital era is affecting business, download the SAP eBook “The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.”

To learn more about the driving forces behind digital transformation download the SAP eBook “Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.”

For a closer look at one industry in the midst of digital transformation, download the SAP eBook Connected Care: The Digital Pulse of Global Healthcare.


About Anja Reschke

Anja Reschke is the Senior Director of Strategic Ecosystem Marketing at SAP. She is responsible for the development of joint strategic marketing plans, programs, and activities, with global strategic services and technology partners.