The term "Digital Transformation" has become ubiquitous in the business world, but what does it truly mean? At its core, digital transformation is about embracing technology to automate mundane and manual tasks, allowing us to focus on the work that truly matters. And whether you are a large corporation or a small startup, it's a topic likely being discussed in boardrooms and executive meetings around the globe.
But why do so many companies struggle with digital transformation? The answer is “change management.” People inherently dislike change, especially when it's not on their own terms. Too often, senior leadership drives business transformation without consulting the front-line employees most impacted by the changes. And while leaders may have a grand vision for the future, any transformation is doomed to fail without buy-in from the larger team.
To succeed in digital transformation, we must embrace change and engage our teams from the outset. Effective change management involves input from everyone, so there is a general consensus that the change is positive. By gathering feedback from our teams and incorporating their ideas and concerns, we create a culture of collaboration and shared purpose. This does not mean just sending out a companywide survey and calling it a day. It takes time to gather requirements, and you need a project team that can invest significant time in understanding both the core processes of the businesses today and what needs to be fixed in the future. This not only increases the likelihood of success in our transformation efforts but also boosts employee engagement and job satisfaction.
Another key aspect of digital transformation is adopting a "cloud-first" mentality. By leveraging best practices and standard business applications rather than custom software, we can streamline our processes and reduce costs. And with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can automate even the most mundane parts of our jobs, freeing up our time to focus on more meaningful work. We are doing this today at SAP, delivering a clean core with our SAP Cloud ERP solutions, while giving clients industry specific applications through our SAP Industry Cloud suite.
When it comes to enterprise software, I like to think of it as the iPhone of the business world. Apple owns iOS, but anyone can build apps that are compatible with the software. Similarly, in the business world, we must choose our software platforms wisely, ensuring they can integrate seamlessly with other systems and applications. This not only makes our lives easier but also ensures that we can adapt to changing business needs and market trends quickly.
Finally, let us not forget the importance of a "clean core" in digital transformation. Moving to the cloud is more than just storage and access; it's about data integrity and reliable infrastructure. By ensuring our data is accurate, complete, and up to date, we can make informed decisions that drive our business forward. SAP just announced our newest offering, GROW with SAP, specifically for midmarket firms. This new offering complements our RISE with SAP offering launched over a year ago that is more targeted for our legacy on-prem clients that are moving their infrastructure to the cloud. It gives companies a blueprint for executing a project and helps define what success looks like upfront.
Digital transformation is more than just technology; it's about embracing change, engaging our teams, and choosing the right software and infrastructure to support our business needs. By adopting a cloud-first mentality, adopting artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, and ensuring data integrity, we can create a culture of innovation and collaboration that drives us toward success. So let us embrace digital transformation with open hearts and minds, and together, we can create a better future for all.
Nate Joseph is Global Industry Cloud Strategy Lead, Professional Services Industry Business Unit, SAP.