What Is The Intelligent Enterprise And Why Does It Matter?

Oliver Germann and Stefan Paetzold

Part of the Digital Finance Transformation series that provides a framework for CFOs to move forward confidently on the journey toward digital transformation

Nowadays, one of the questions that CFOs and CEOs ask themselves most frequently is how they can drive a successful digital transformation journey and how to become an intelligent enterprise (see Fostering Digitalization: The Journey Of Digital Metamorphosis). In this blog, we will start by defining the intelligent enterprise (IE) and explaining why it matters, concentrating on the best way to develop and design the architecture.

Defining the intelligent enterprise

The intelligent enterprise is a strategy for enabling the rapid transformation of data into insight – feeding process automation, innovation, and optimal experiences. The intelligent enterprise leverages emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), IoT, and analytics to enable the workforce to focus on higher-value outcomes.

The IE differentiates between three key capabilities:

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

With the IE, your organization can be more agile in a faster-moving environment, with a clear chance for sustainable growth.

In the following diagram, we can see how the IE elevates employees to focus on higher-value tasks:

Source: SAP SE

With the new possibilities based on the IE, your company can set the goal of achieving breakthrough outcomes in the following areas:

  1. Redefine the end-to-end customer experience
  1. Deliver a step-change in productivity
  1. Transform workforce engagement

A framework comprising three components

This requires an architecture – an overall framework – consisting of three components:

The intelligent suite: To enable automation of day-to-day business processes and better interaction with customers, suppliers, and employees through applications that have intelligence embedded

The digital platform: To facilitate the collection, connection, and orchestration of data as well as the integration and extension of processes in integrated applications

Intelligent technologies: To enable leveraging data to detect patterns, predict outcomes, and suggest actions

The relationship and the orchestration of the three key components are shown in the following diagram:

Furthermore, your organization needs a vision of the IE based on three pillars:

  1. End-to-end integration across the processes that matter most to the business, built on common master data, domain models, and platforms
  1. Industry expertise to help make sense of the data in the specific context of the business, using insights about performance to optimize algorithms
  1. Intelligence embedded directly into core solutions as part of a standard road map so it is not necessary to create a separate data lake or purchase additional tools

The integration strategy for the existing landscape, and the development of a new strategy incorporating this framework, is the basis for the success and growth of the company. In a nutshell, this is a life insurance policy for future demands in a challenging market.

Get more insight on how to use the intelligent enterprise to support your business by accessing the Webcast series.


Oliver Germann

About Oliver Germann

Oliver Germann is a principal business transformation consultant in the business unit CFO Advisory within SAP. Oliver has technical and business knowledge in finance, controlling, and project management. Oliver works as trusted advisor for major companies on the way to the intelligent enterprise.

Stefan Paetzold

About Stefan Paetzold

Stefan Pätzold is a global business transformation manager, PMP, and has worked for SAP Business Transformation Services for more than 6 years. He has been supporting companies as a program manager and trusted advisor in the areas of finance, controlling, and consolidation. Stefan received his diploma in business administration and engineering with a focus on finance and controlling from the University of Applied Sciences, Giessen.