How do you transform ERP backbones into systems of innovation? The solution relies on the convergence of customer-centricity, new technology adoption, and business model modernization. Only by connecting these disciplines, a company can deliver truly data-driven customer experiences. Modernizing your core by converting to SAP S/4HANA is key, says Client Partner Christian Staalby.
To drive innovation and grow the business, the use of technologies such as social, mobile, analytics, cloud and AI is a strategic imperative for more and more enterprises. This process often starts with the customer experience, such as a mobile app or web self-service portal. What’s the problem with that then?
Well, after years of experience from working for SAP and other software and consulting companies across the Nordics, I’ve frequently seen that companies soon realize that regardless of how great new experiences to customers and employees are, the success is relative to the company’s ability to scale up their business. In other words, overhauling their core processes is equally (if not more) important. That is because that core, often made up of ERP applications deployed in the 1990s or early into the new century, is the source of all the data required by every user interface and business process.
Stitching the disciplines together
While many companies understand and acknowledge the need to approach business innovation through digital as a cross-disciplinary game, many still stick to seek help from different agencies and suppliers, resulting in a complex and sometimes siloed landscape. Furthermore, consolidating and leveraging an enterprise technology backbone to support all the aspects of the cross-discipline convergence is still a cumbersome and complex task – which means that many refrains from doing it.
What the CIO and the CMO (and their colleagues) need to do though, is to support each other through having equal access to a core system that promotes data-driven experiences. This is to ensure great customer experience across interactions, to get the possibility to act on different data points, and to optimize services, among other things.
Moving to SAP S/4HANA unlocks the possibilities to address this challenge. It supports organizations to modernize their core back-end “systems of record” and make it the foundation of dynamic and flexible “systems of innovation” that can quickly adapt to changes in technology, markets, customer needs and business models.
Why Cognizant as SAP partner?
If you’re determined to succeed with the convergence of marketing and technology, you need to be with a company that has the breadth to address and work with customer experience, branding and marketing in one end, and with ERP, cloud, and digital platform in the other. They also need the depth to do so with scale and speed. Essentially, you need to be in a large global company, that almost “aggressively onboards” new capabilities within digital, creative and strategy consulting.
That’s exactly why I decided to join Cognizant to support clients across manufacturing, logistics, consumer goods, retail and energy and utilities in 2020. Cognizant is an impressive powerhouse, with an appealing hybrid onshore/offshore delivery model, not the least in the SAP sphere.
If you compare us with the typical SAP partner, we stand out from the crowd:
- Cognizant has a long-term partnership model and is recognized as a leader in S/4HANA-driven transformation and quality assurance by Gartner, ISG, Nelson Hall and Everest Group, among other analysts.
- We have an SAP-certified SmartMove conversion factory and Cloud migration factory that helps clients migrate to S/4HANA on AWS, Azure, or GCP in just one step.
- We are the no. 1 partner for Tricentis, SAP’s recommended testing tool (testing is especially important to avoid business disruptions when migrating from an aging, heavily customized SAP solution).
- We have over 12,000 SAP specialists and experience from more than 450 SAP customers globally. Among our many S/4HANA migration case studies you also find this Nordic manufacturing company that performed a migration over Easter.
Part of the digital strategy
A core modernization initiative is typically the foundation of a digital transformation strategy for a majority of our customers. Covid-19 has only further articulated the need for a major transformation and digitalization.
When it comes to SAP, it’s about investing in the capabilities and features provided right now, but it’s also about investing in future innovations. A modernized core, converging marketing and sales with IT, is a prerequisite to leverage new technologies and deliver data-driven digital experiences. What are you waiting for?