How Chemical Companies Can Become Intelligent Enterprises

Stefan Guertzgen

With digital disruption changing our world, chemical companies are facing challenges to their processes and business models. How can they adapt and thrive? Leading companies in the chemical industry are succeeding by becoming intelligent enterprises.

Facing modern industry challenges

Chemicals companies face challenges from numerous areas. These include factors like the changing price of raw materials and geopolitical climates, erratic demand patterns, mass commoditization and customization of products, complex supply chain management, the transition to digitalization, competition from new companies, and more regulations and environmental expectations than before.

Challenges like these are not always negative but instead can present opportunities. Smart chemical companies are already shifting their models and offering new services, selling business outcomes instead of products, further automating processes leveraging machine learning, collaborating beyond traditional boundaries and competing as ecosystems, or developing strategic agility as a new core competency.

Mastering the challenge

With the mass adoption of cloud, Big Data, and mobile technologies over the last 20 years, chemical companies are generating an overwhelming volume of data. But most of them are unable to leverage this data effectively. As data becomes the new “oil,” most companies are simply building up larger reserves without a clear path for how to cash in this new asset. To make sense of all the noise, draw meaningful insights from their data, and dynamically allocate resources, our customers must become intelligent enterprises.

Intelligent enterprises operate with visibility, focus, and agility to achieve game-changing outcomes. They do more with less and empower employees through process automation. They deliver a best-in-class customer experience by proactively responding to customer expectations. They invent new business models and revenue streams.

Key capabilities of an intelligent enterprise

Intelligent enterprises differentiate with three key capabilities. They operate with:

  • Visibility: the ability to collect and connect data that was previously siloed and recognize unseen patterns
  • Focus: the ability to simulate the impact of potential options and direct scarce resources to the areas of maximum impact
  • Agility: the ability to respond faster to changes in the marketplace or the business and pivot business processes towards the right customer outcomes

Business outcomes

By adopting the capabilities of an intelligent enterprise, chemical companies can achieve game-changing outcomes faster, more effectively, and with less risk:

  • Do more with less and empower employees through process automation, freeing time for people to do more meaningful work
  • Deliver a best-in-class customer experience by anticipating and proactively responding to end-customer needs
  • Invent new business models and revenue streams by monetizing data-driven capabilities and applying core competencies in new ways

Technology enablers

For enterprises to become intelligent enterprises, they must invest in three key areas of technology:

  • An intelligent suite bringing intelligence into the applications used to manage customers, supply chains, networks, employees, and core business processes
  • A digital platform to manage data from any source (first or third party) in any format (structured or unstructured), and support the development, integration, and extension of business applications
  • Intelligent technologies to apply intelligence to data and processes through innovations such as machine learning, advanced analytics, and IoT

Learn how you can transform your company into an intelligent enterprise. Start today!


About Stefan Guertzgen

Dr. Stefan Guertzgen is the Global Director of Industry Solution Marketing for Chemicals at SAP. He is responsible for driving Industry Thought Leadership, Positioning & Messaging and strategic Portfolio Decisions for Chemicals.