ASUG began to roll out its signature Pulse of the SAP Customer research last week, focusing on 2023 key themes—including innovation, transformation technologies, and knowledge/skill gaps—and commitments to dive deeper in future data-driven conversations.

For the initial research webcast, Geoff Scott, ASUG CEO, and Marissa Gilbert, ASUG Research Director, highlighted select findings and tied in ASUG resources that could help members with challenges and opportunities that recently surfaced or showed trends over time. The duo referenced the upcoming ASUG Best Practices: SAP S/4HANA and Business Technology Platform (BTP) Conference, the ASUG Pathfinder technology curated content offering, and this First Five weekly newsletter.

Scott said the six years of Pulse research and the 15% jump in respondents this year (806 participants) “gives us a lot of data to think about,” and essential, comprehensive information “to understand what peers are doing.”

More Data Deep Dives

Scott and Gilbert noted additional “deep dive” webcasts plan to explore Pulse results drawn from specific respondent segments, such as job functions, details related to SAP technologies and solutions, cloud journeys, and innovation strategies.

In the data shared during the webcast, Gilbert said topline data on innovation strategies remains relatively unchanged over the last three years. In 2023, 56% of respondents characterized innovation as “sustainable” (making incremental improvements and continuous enhancements); 17% called themselves “conservative” (rarely making changes); and another 7% said they are “radical” (inventing completely new products/services).

According to Scott and Gilbert, the innovation findings reflect continued uncertainty in business, the economic outlook, and supply chain issues.

“The need to innovate isn’t changing,” and to achieve innovation, “digitization is essential for organizations”—for SAP customers and ASUG members, Scott said. Gilbert noted SAP S/4HANA-BTP conference keynote speaker Jack Shaw will discuss radical innovation among his topics at the upcoming event.

The Rise of RISE with SAP

Pulse 2023 showed digital transformations continue to advance, with fewer respondents operating on ECC, a year-over-year consistent 46% of participants using SAP S/4HANA, and, as Gilbert remarked, “RISE rose,” referring to the 11% that said they implemented RISE with SAP as a solution.

Meanwhile, Scott commented on study data highlighting technologies with the “most impact” on digital transformation: 63% cited data/analytics, while 44% noted automation. “Data and analytics are most important for transformations,” Scott said, but organizations may be hampered by talent and skills gaps and jobs that go unfilled over long periods.

Maintaining knowledgeable staff/staff turnover (37%), specifically on SAP S/4HANA; master data and governance issues (32%); and internal skills to manage new products (30%) hindered organizations’ technology and business progress, according to this year’s research. Along with the data governance topic, Scott shared, “When I talk to ASUG members, I hear a LOT of organizations spend a LOT of time on master data. It’s most challenging.”

Focus Areas Spread

Survey respondents also cited a bevy of focus areas for the year, including SAP and non-SAP integration (45%), standardizing business processes and moving to SAP S/4HANA (each at 42%), dashboards/analytics (33%), and cybersecurity/data protection (30%).

Scott echoed the importance of enterprise standardization of business processes: “Business process enablement is the heart of what we do.”

Gilbert noted ASUG research that further probed current interest and adoption of SAP BTP Results showed 45% are using BTP, while another 32% said they are considering the solution.

The on-demand webcast is available.

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