We live in a digital and service-based economy that demands an unprecedented level of agility and innovation from organizations. To stay relevant and out in front of this new dynamic, companies need to transition from selling products to selling services and outcomes.
There are countless examples of organizations that are successfully adapting to this digital economy and transforming their industries, from Uber in transportation to Airbnb in lodging. For the enterprise, this represents a massive change in both business strategy and the information technology that supports changing business processes. Simply put, in a short time we have reached the point at which the primary purpose of enterprise solutions is not to record and document the past, but to support predictions that can help businesses reinvent their business models, decision making, and processes, and instantly respond to opportunities.
Embracing digitization, which includes becoming part of a network that connects customers and suppliers with the enterprise, is the key to survival in an economy that values the consumer as an integral part of the entire life cycle of a product and service, and not just as a single transaction. It also requires an IT team that is well aware of the latest techniques, strategies, and tools. Today, technology does not only support a company’s business — it is the business.
Complete visibility throughout the enterprise is the promise behind SAP S/4HANA.
A Platform for the Future
Complete visibility throughout the enterprise is the promise behind SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (SAP S/4HANA). SAP S/4HANA is SAP’s fourth-generation business suite that provides everything a business needs to shape the future rather than be driven by the past. SAP S/4HANA is designed for the data-driven business of today and acts as the nucleus for a modular, yet integrated suite from which customers can build their systems according to their exact needs. To give further choice to customers, SAP offers on-premise, cloud, and hybrid deployment options for SAP S/4HANA.
Think of SAP S/4HANA as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine: It provides real-time and complete visibility and transparency into the entire business. Much like an MRI allows a medical professional to make educated treatment decisions, SAP S/4HANA offers real-time insights to support faster, better business decisions. This takes it up a notch from a traditional ERP system, which is more like an x-ray: a useful diagnostic tool that documents what has happened, but cannot predict what lies ahead.
SAP S/4HANA delivers unprecedented business value with a simplified, unified data model that increases agility and reduces total cost of ownership (TCO) by removing redundant data layers that exist in traditional systems. SAP HANA Cloud Platform acts as an extension platform and agility layer for SAP S/4HANA. With SAP HANA Cloud Platform, companies can integrate non-SAP functions and develop new capabilities specific to their needs. These developed extensions can run on premise or in the cloud with SAP S/4HANA.
Keeping Up with the Internet of Things and Big Data
With SAP S/4HANA, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data are accessible to any business. IoT, sensors, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication influence the design, manufacture, and distribution of just about every product and service, with the customer involved along the entire value chain. This shift represents a significant opportunity for enterprises that can leverage these moving parts — and the multitude of business processes that support them — into a cohesive view of the entire business. This is the value that SAP S/4HANA and SAP HANA Cloud Platform deliver as a state-of-the-art business suite and cloud platform engineered for a forward-looking digital economy.
IoT enables companies to offer complementary digital services that complete and enhance their existing portfolios, creating added value for their customers. Integrating these capabilities with the ability to refine data using intelligent software enables innovation across industries, as well as transparency, flexibility, individualization of products and services, and even completely new business models.
Fulfilling this potential requires simplification. In the past, development units designed and developed software. Operations then took over, providing customer feedback, which developers then incorporated into the software before delivering a new version. This not only results in many iterations, but is contrary to what SAP strives to achieve: to run simple.
As they look to the future, IT departments — from developers to managers to executives — must embrace simplification. Additionally, to succeed in the cloud, organizations need to be much more agile and achieve value along the complete value chain more quickly than before. With full, end-to-end control, operational aspects can be natively built into products from conception to delivery. When developers begin working on a new product, feature, or function, they should already have in mind what it means to provide this product as a service to the customer, and what qualities need to be built in so that operations and customer consumption is a seamless and positive experience.
To succeed in today’s digital economy and fully leverage the cloud, end-to-end delivery of products and services is key — for companies and their customers alike.