The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

Ana Ammann

About Ana Ammann

Ana Ammann is the Senior Director of Global Services Portfolio Marketing at SAP. She is currently responsible for global marketing strategy and execution of SAP's Global Service and Support business. Ammann's focus is building marketing programs around a broad portfolio of SAP solutions. including leading marketing efforts for GSS around the new flagship product S/4HANA - as well as Big Data, Analytics and hybrid cloud solutions.