The Path to SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise Vision
The Intelligent Enterprise is SAP’s new vision for combining SAP software with the latest technologies to optimize and transform business processes for its customers. The Intelligent Enterprise is driving SAP’s product roadmap and provides context for what customers can expect from the vendor going forward.
Comprising the Intelligent Enterprise is the Intelligent Suite, Intelligent Technologies, and the Digital Platform, according to Lori Mitchell-Keller, Co-President for Industries at SAP, who spoke at the Customer Experience Innovation Forum in Dallas this week.
“With the concepts of Intelligent Enterprise and Digital Transformation, it’s not a question about if, but a question about when and when are you ready,” says Mitchell-Keller. “Over 50 percent of what we do today will change over the next few years.”
The Importance of Data
Of those three Intelligent Enterprise components, the Digital Platform provides the data management capabilities to drive transformation—providing the ability to think about information from every activity conducted in the system and giving the visibility into that information.
“If you have bad data you have bad planning. If you have good then you have data good planning,” says Mitchell-Keller. “Make sure you have clean data because [the Intelligent Enterprise] starts with the data.
The Intelligent Enterprise Journey
Mitchell-Keller explains there are three steps on the path to becoming what SAP deems an Intelligent Enterprise. The first is optimizing existing business processes by embedding intelligent technology, such as voice, blockchain, IoT, or machine learning.
The next step is to extend those optimized capabilities to new processes that had not been previously supported by enterprise systems. The third and final step is to transform business processes to be different in order for them to run better, faster, and more optimally.
SAP itself is undergoing this process. It is optimizing its entire software portfolio by embedding intelligent technology, then creating new capabilities with voice, for example. The transformation comes in creating new suites of capabilities like SAP S/4HANA and SAP C/4HANA.
“You want to make sure that you continue to push the edge and continue to look at opportunities for higher growth,” says Mitchell-Keller. “Transformation is going to continue to come to market.”
Extending CAR Capabilities—An Example of Innovation
SAP Customer Activity Repository (CAR) is a data application and platform that provides a strong foundation for data and analytics applications and activities. Using the Intelligent Enterprise philosophy, SAP will soon roll out a new application that works as an extension of CAR: Consumer Sales Intelligence, which will help with transaction log collection and sales analysis.
“The strategy with CAR is to maintain consistency and minimize risk,” says Kristin Howell, Global VP, Retail Industry, who spoke at the SAP Customer Experience Innovation Forum. “The intention is to keep the core stable but also to add innovations on top with more native cloud capabilities.”
Building new functionality in the cloud—not private, but public cloud—is key to the Intelligent Enterprise strategy. Consumer Sales Intelligence will be SAP’s first step on the retail side into providing native cloud functionality on top of current on-premise capabilities.
Keeping customers in mind, SAP’s strategy is to continue to complement existing software, instead of requiring a rip and replace approach to access new innovations. Consumer Sales Intelligence is a prime example of that, and we should expect to see more extensions driven by the Intelligence Enterprise rolling out over the next couple of years.