Delivering The Intelligent Enterprise: A Practical Guide

Asha Ambike

We are living in exciting times. Industry boundaries are blurring, business models are being disrupted, and the very rules of business, work, and life are being rewritten.

Consider the following:

  • Amazon is getting into the healthcare industry, with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway
  • Neighbors are buying and selling energy in Brooklyn as part of a peer-to-peer blockchain solar energy trading: Brooklyn Microgrid
  • JD.com has opened a fully automated warehouse that can fulfill 200,000 packages with only four employees
  • Zume Pizza is an AI-powered and robot-based pizza delivery service in San Francisco that is outperforming Domino’s in price and delivery time
  • The first “social network of brains,” BrainNet, let three people transmit thoughts to each other’s heads

The possibilities are endless. IDC estimates that by 2022, 80% of revenue growth will depend on digital offerings and operations.

The practical challenges

While digital transformation is a key customer imperative, few organizations have mastered it. According to IDC, 60% of companies find themselves at a “digital impasse,” with transformation efforts commanding growing budgets but producing inconsistent results.

In the face of unprecedented change brought on by emerging technology, incumbents have tried many approaches, with limited success. The reasons include an inability to keep pace with the constantly evolving tech landscape; lack of a holistic vision for innovation across the enterprise; focusing too much on tactical use cases, proof of concepts, and point solutions; traditional mindsets and conventional approaches to innovation; and the inability to convert ideas into technical and business realities at scale.

For example, one large North American Chemicals company found its traditional business model under threat from new players with new technology-enabled outcome-based business models. To meet the challenge, the company developed several dozen digital initiatives and proof of concepts across multiple business units, but it struggled to monetize, scale, and create any material business impact.

It turned out that the key challenge was primarily around the organization’s tactical approach to innovation, which focused on use cases hatched within the silos of each business unit and did not adequately consider scalability and overall business impact to the enterprise.

Our new intelligent world calls for a new order 

The new world calls for a new order. What is the way forward? Here are three practical tips to become an intelligent enterprise that drives business outcomes:

1. Innovation vision, portfolio, and roadmap for the intelligent enterprise

Defining innovation vision and portfolio at a holistic enterprise level means defining and quantifying the aspiration and designing a portfolio mix of disruptive and sustaining innovations, strategic opportunities and quick wins, new business models, and business process optimizations, all with a clear path to implementation.

2. Acid test: FSDV

Opportunities for desirability, feasibility, viability, and scalability must be carefully screened every step of the way.

  • Desirability: Is there a real value proposition for the end user?
  • Feasibility: Is it feasible from a technical and regulatory point of view?
  • Viability: Is there a business case for it?
  • Scalability: Can it be scaled so that it delivers business impact?

3. Agile mindset, approaches, and methodologies to innovation

Adopting an agile mindset means rapidly discovering insights and ideas, iteratively building and validating them through prototypes and real-world pilots, and implementing them in a matter of weeks.

Only then can we deliver the intelligent enterprise.

For more on this topic, see The Intelligent Enterprise: Where Data Doesn’t Collect Dust.


Asha Ambike

About Asha Ambike

Asha Ambike is Director of Applied Business Innovation at SAP Leonardo Services based at Palo Alto, California. She advises companies across the globe around defining and executing their enterprise innovation vision, portfolio and roadmap, with special emphasis on breakthrough innovations, new business models, products and services leveraging leading edge technologies. Asha is also a mentor at SAP.io accelerator for early-stage startups and a design-thinking coach.