The journey to becoming an intelligent enterprise

Main visual : The journey to becoming an intelligent enterprise

We all want to be more intelligent these days.

Devices, processes, operations – by being smarter in how we work, we can save time and money, and focus our attention on the big-ticket projects that really make a difference.

But we’re approaching a time where it’s not enough for disparate parts of our business to be smart. Tomorrow’s enterprises need to move forward as a whole: a single cohesive unit with intelligence threaded through its entire operations.

In other words, they need to be what we call an intelligent enterprise.

Defining intelligence

There are a number of things that make intelligent enterprises unique. But above everything else, I think the most important is the ability to predict.

We’re living in an increasingly uncertain world – you don’t need me to tell you that. Even before COVID-19, the pace of change was unprecedented. In order to flourish, it’s vital that businesses don’t just keep pace with the status quo, but they can look into the future and make smart, insight-based decisions.

Data is key. It provides a window into the future: a way of knowing what’s on the road ahead and navigating it successfully.

Data can predict how the market is going to change in the future. It can give insights into how risky it is working with specific partners. It can estimate when manufacturing equipment will stop working. And best of all, it can give some semblance of clarity in a world which is more unpredictable than ever.

Data is also the driving force behind much merging tech. Machine leaning, artificial intelligence and blockchain are already making a huge difference in the business world. And as more businesses adopt them, they will become integral for survival.

Effective data management is easier said than done. It requires executive commitment and a fail fast mindset to become a data driven organization– but first, you’ll need to do a little groundwork.

The journey to transformation

Before committing to any change program, it’s vital you define your vision. Yes, you want to become an intelligent enterprise. But what does that mean for your business? In what areas could data really transform how you operate?

So, define your vision (physically write it down). Set your objectives. And set your indicators of success – whether they be revenue growth, cost savings, or customer experience KPIs.

Remember too that change isn’t all about technology. Culture cannot be underestimated – and I think one of the most important things to do is to allow employees to be comfortable with failure. Experimentation is key to innovation. So try and instill a ‘fail fast’ mentality in your culture and ensure people feel free to think outside the box.

You should also aware change is a cross-discipline program. It’s not enough to involve just technical and IT teams. The goal of transformation is to make everyone’s job easier – so that means involving, well, everyone. From sales and business processes to HR and data science, invite a variety of teams to the table and get as many perspectives as possible.

The most important piece of puzzle in becoming an intelligent enterprise is having the right technology platform to transform data into business value. If you are leveraging SAP to manage your critical business operations, SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) is the crux of the puzzle.

The SAP BTP has services for database, data management, application development, integration, analytics and intelligent business services, making it a one-stop-shop for curating and ingesting data, managing the whole lifecycle for machine learning models, and making your business more intelligent.

The SAP BTP also makes it easy to consume the output of the machine learning models as API’s across all of the SAP and non-SAP applications, making it a key enabler of the intelligent enterprise.

Finally, aside from having the vision, culture and technology, ensure you have the right skills. New technology can’t run itself. You’re only as innovative as your skillset allows you to be – so be sure to invest in upskilling or bringing in new talent. One of the biggest advantages of the SAP BTP is that it makes it easy to consume machine learning models. You can upskill SAP Business users and thereby reduce the dependency on data scientists.

These are a few of the key steps to go through in becoming an intelligent enterprise in your own right. Change is always daunting, but the rewards far outweigh the pain. By investing in both technology and your culture, you’ll be able to fully leverage your data and become a truly intelligent enterprise.