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Inside Edge: Up Close with SAP's Ingrid-Helen Arnold

by Ingrid-Helen Arnold | SAPinsider, Volume 16, Issue 2

April 2, 2015

To stay competitive in a cloud-connected world, organizations must find a way to integrate their employees, buyers, data, suppliers, assets, business processes, and a host of other items. Business networks are the key to enabling this integration and tapping into the value it holds. Learn how SAP’s business network enables the effective and simple use of all of an organization’s enterprise resources, dramatically increasing the speed and quality of innovation.

 

The cloud has had a significant impact on the way organizations deploy their software and run their business, opening up seemingly limitless opportunities to access innovation that helps increase agility and improve efficiency, and that paves the way to new levels of integration with customers and partners. As enterprises continue to increasingly rely on cloud-based solutions as part of their business strategy, ownership of technology is no longer the sole domain of IT — the business has assumed an influential voice in technology decisions as well.

While this shift might appear to de-emphasize IT in favor of business — with cloud solutions, there is no need to devote resources to infrastructure such as servers and storage, for instance — when it comes to technology decisions, the truth is that without a technical perspective, lines of business could adopt solutions that don’t work well together or don’t map to the organization’s strategic vision for years to come. No one is more aware of a company’s business needs, existing infrastructure, and resources than the CIO, who should be the driving strategic force behind any technology adoption, and whose mandate in a cloud-connected world is to find a way to integrate employees, buyers, data, suppliers, assets, business processes, and a host of other items, all in an easy-to-use, fast manner. In fact, over time, the “I” in “CIO” may come to represent “integration” rather than “information.”

Business networks are the key to this connection and exchange of information between enterprises, suppliers, customers, and partners, and to an organization’s ability to tap into the wealth of value to be found in this type of integration. Not only do business networks enable enterprises to better leverage their own ecosystems, but they can also discover potential new partners on a business network, anywhere across the globe, with whom they can collaborate and co-innovate. For example, a company can elicit input on creative new products or services from their suppliers, or even crowdsource requirements over business networks to a much broader community of potential suppliers. Through business networks, organizations can also digitize and automate processes such as payment and invoicing, eliminating inefficiencies that have been holding them back.

 

Networked resource management is more than just a catchphrase. It is a philosophy.

With over 1.7 million businesses as participants exchanging over $700 billion in commerce, SAP’s business network — which includes Ariba, Fieldglass, and Concur — enables precisely this sort of discovery, integration, and collaboration. Powered by SAP HANA, this network is underpinned by an end-to-end platform that reaches every part of today’s enterprises, enabling more than just participation — it provides a networked resource management approach that reaches beyond the four walls of a company to allow effective and simple use of all its enterprise resources, dramatically increasing the speed and quality of innovation, which can mean the difference between market leadership and going bust.

Networked resource management is more than just a catchphrase. It is a philosophy. I encourage other CIOs to look at it that way — and to embrace it and evolve with it.

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Ingrid-Helen Arnold
Ingrid-Helen Arnold

Member of the Global Managing Board
Chief Information Officer and Chief Process Officer
SAP SE



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