Very soon, we will see as many as 75 billion devices and sensors connecting to each other and exchanging information. Looking further into the future, I imagine that this number could easily rise to hundreds of billions. My prediction may be low, but there’s no doubt that this new digital economy is providing an opportunity for real business transformation.
In the backdrop of this digital transformation, it’s worth highlighting the key technical fundamentals that remain the focal point for customers:
- A strong value network (fast mobile connections and comprehensive bandwidth)
- A central platform for collecting and analyzing a vast amount of data produced by digital transactions
Businesses have come a long way since cloud solutions first hit the mainstream. Executives are feeling more confident in imagining their road map that includes in-memory as the preferred database for their cloud. Even large companies specializing in areas such as online marketplaces, digital marketing, and financial fraud are building the next-generation data platform in the cloud.
With a cloud-first approach being an almost no-brainer, industry leaders are now embarking towards some critical decisions. Whether they are in manufacturing, automotive, or retail, business leaders must have a sense of how they’re going to help their businesses evolve and take on the digital economy.
In working with SAP customers around the world, I find that the following fundamental characteristics are being adopted in the DNA of every successful digital transformation initiative:
- A desire to go beyond technology. While undergoing digital transformation, these businesses understand that a broader ecosystem of customers, partners, solution providers, and ISVs also have a strong role in reimagining processes and operations. This requires a strong platform – not just for the software provider and the customer, but one that can serve the entire ecosystem engaged in rebuilding all digital experiences. With a convergence platform, businesses can create a unique development and integration mechanism with all the core ingredients of an in-memory platform in the cloud.
- A drive for accurate insights: Whether it is about customer’s internal process or their customers, an appropriate use of data to deliver new insights processes is required. A connected experience that integrates mobile, social, and Web channels leading to more machine-to-machine communication has become a norm. These are all examples of true digitization of a business, and all this can only take shape within a secure cloud.
- Acknowledgment that digital technology is fundamentally shifting the competitive landscape. By realizing that competitors are emerging from unexpected areas, businesses are beginning to find new revenue streams and opportunities for expansion and value-add services. For example, banks are competing with travel businesses in some countries. We’re also seeing travel agents get into the insurance business. We’re even observing retailers go into the media business. As businesses continue to adopt a cloud-first strategy, smart enterprises will become even smarter when adopting a new core in a typical plug-and-play manner with minimal disruption.
Innovation is the future, and it happens in the cloud. With a comprehensive cloud platform working as the heart of a cloud-first strategy, smart enterprises position themselves for success now and in the future.
For more insight on digital transformation strategies, see What Does A Disruptive CIO Look Like In The Age Of Digital Transformation?