Swim With The Sharks: How To Compete With A Digital Core

Luciano Ravenna

Part 2 of a series. Read Part 1.

So what will it take for you to ride the wave of digital transformation – and to swim with the sharks, so to say? In my last blog, I looked at how the digital age is driving high expectations for customer service, changing the way we do business, and forcing companies of every size, shape, and color to move with technology. The reality is that today, every company needs to become a technology business to survive. It’s as simple as that.

Let me explain. At the center of every technology business is what we call a digital core that enables you to combine transactions and analytics on a single platform. Instead of basing decisions and actions on outdated information, this digital core lets you take instant action based on live, real-time data. Instead of relying on multiple applications for different processes, a single platform centralizes your data, integrating with cloud solutions like HR, e-commerce, and travel management, as well as analytics and business intelligence. And it connects with the outside world – your suppliers, your customers, your workforce, the Web, social media, the Internet of Things – bringing in external sources for yet more insight.

Ratchet up productivity

Instead of getting caught in a web of complexity, you can simplify, eliminating manual processes and repetitive work that suck up so much time and energy and translate directly to wasted resources.

Think of the productivity gains when you and your team can get access to information on any device anywhere, any time, with a simple, consumer-like user experience that requires virtually no training. Working with your own data is as easy as making an online purchase from, say, the SAP Store. And let me add another important point: this simplicity, seamless integration, and mobile enablement are no longer options, but must-haves today for employing a savvy, energetic, and dedicated team.

Analyze and act on data – on the fly

But what does this look like in real life? I’ll give you a few examples.

  • You’re riding home on the train after a long day and realize that you haven’t yet approved an important purchase order. Logging on to a finance app on your phone, you check over the PO, compare it to previous submissions, verify the amount, and approve – in five minutes.
  • You’re on your way to a customer call, and a weather delay has prevented good preparation. In the airport lounge, you have time to get organized. Fire up your laptop, log onto a CRM cloud solution, and there you have the customer’s entire detailed history: previous orders, payments, when, and how much. Now you know how to negotiate. On the flight back home, use the travel management app on your phone to organize expenses. You only have to wait till the plane lands to submit.
  • Or say you’re a plant manager. On the manufacturing floor, you can check your tablet to see which machines are due for routine maintenance this week – all previously and proactively scheduled based on sensor data – and plan worker shifts accordingly.
  • Now imagine you’re a business owner and need the latest financials before meeting with investors. Your finance staff can do a soft close with real-time, integrated data. No more batch updates from subledger to general ledger; the data is right there in a universal journal.
  • And how about sentiment analysis? Now there are tools enabling you to get a picture of the standing of your brand on social media, positive, negative, and neutral – and to respond quickly. Social media can make or break you; sink or swim.

So there you have it: these are the types of scenarios for on-the-fly analysis, decision-making, and fast response enabled by a digital core.

And yes, this is a reality, no matter what size your business, given the wide availability of accessible, affordable solutions designed specifically to meet the needs of SMBs. Advisers you can trust are on hand to support you with evaluation, implementation, industry-specific functionality, and ongoing services.

For more information, please visit the SAP S/4HANA Partner Packages site.

Luciano Ravenna

About Luciano Ravenna

Luciano Ravenna has over 20 years of experience with SAP, ranging from implementations, solution sales management, integration management, consulting, project management, business development, and channel management. He is currently is the regional director of the Partner Solution Center, North America. He studied accounting and corporate governance and holds an ACIS qualification and an LDP from the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Pretoria, South Africa.