If getting new technology up and running was easy, everyone would do it. Every business would be using the most up-to-date systems on the market. Unfortunately, the reality is that digital transformation can be challenging. The biggest stumbling blocks can be organizational culture and mindset. But there are several steps you can take to avoid them. The article below serves as a walkthrough to preparing for SAP digital transformation.
What is SAP digital transformation?
"Digital transformation” means integrating technological solutions into each aspect of a business. So, an SAP digital transformation is about making the necessary changes to get the most out of SAP. This requires both cultural and organizational shifts. You can't achieve digital transformation through technology alone. To get the most out of tools, people have to know how to use them. And they have to embrace the changes to their workflows.
According to SAP Insights, you should consider three areas of your business when you embark on SAP digital transformation: your business model, your business processes, and your culture. The following sections will provide a brief description of each one.
First Thing’s First: Business Model or Business Process?
Before we get into the first two areas, we'll need to distinguish between them. It's not uncommon for businesses to confuse business models and business processes. The key differences are:
➢ Customer-centric focus. You build your business model on market research.
➢ Defined by the approach your company takes to deliver value to its industry.
Examples: Subscription-based, brick-and-mortar.
➢ Supports your business model by determining the best ways to accomplish business goals.
➢ Defined by how your company will produce and provide the products/services it offers.
Examples: Order processing, risk assessment.
Your business model and business processes are closely linked. Still, they must be addressed separately to successfully prepare for digital transformation.
1. Business Model Transformation
A business model change should respond to customer and cultural demands. For example, many businesses ditched their brick-and-mortar shops in favor of allocating resources toward e-commerce in recent years. Others embraced subscription-based models once their technology made it possible. When you start digital transformation, you have to consider your business model. Otherwise, you might miss out on ways to innovate and stay competitive.
2. Business Process Transformation
This area of focus requires you to examine your organizational structure. Your workflows, processes, and even the departments that handle certain tasks may need adjustments ahead of SAP digital transformation. The best way to approach a business process modernization is to stay focused on the purpose of the new technology. For example, if you’re implementing SAP S/4HANA technology to streamline production processes, ensure any changes you make are aligned with that goal.
3. Cultural Transformation
For SAP digital transformation to go smoothly, you need buy-in from stakeholders, including employees. Regrettably, this isn’t always the case when it comes to new technology. Here are a few potential issues employees may have with a digital transformation:
- The fear that their job will become obsolete. Transparency is the key to successful SAP digital transformation. It’s important to outline the ways new technology can help support employees in their positions rather than remove their responsibilities. For instance, automated testing makes digital transformation possible. Assure testers that an automated testing solution won’t replace the role of QA in the software testing cycle. Instead, it frees them from the burden of repetitive duties so that they can focus on tasks that require human judgment, like exploratory testing.
- Unwillingness to disrupt their existing routine. People are creatures of habit. Once they’ve settled into a role and familiarized themselves with their surroundings, they may not want to change their daily routine. After all, why fix something that they don’t consider broken? You can overcome this resistance by demonstrating how SAP digital transformation will make their lives better. Change is never easy, but it’s easier to accept when the outcome is positive and predictable.
- Resistance to the additional effort it takes to adapt to change. It’s always easier not to do something than it is to do it. Those in leadership roles will need to find ways to present the SAP digital transformation as an opportunity rather than just another responsibility.
The Importance of SAP Digital Transformation
For companies using enterprise resource planning (ERP) software like SAP, digital transformation is essential for success. SAP is a far-reaching business process management solution. To make the most of it, your company’s business processes and employees will need to adapt. Taking full advantage of the benefits of SAP technology requires more than just passive accommodation. Employee cooperation, structural malleability, and the reprioritization of business goals will help facilitate a seamless transition.
Using Technology Upgrades to Drive Business Improvements
The primary goal behind SAP digital transformation (or digital transformation of any kind) is to enhance the business. For this reason, it’s essential to strategize your transformation to play on your organization’s strengths and provide support to its weaknesses. To summarize, preparing for a digital transformation requires those in leadership roles to do 3 things:
- Address company culture. Make sure employees understand the driving force behind the changes. And how changes will make their jobs easier.
- Revisit the business model. Ensure it will continue to meet consumer demands. And that you're looking at how new technology can change your industry on a fundamental level.
- Restructure business processes wherever necessary. Process and tools should help each other, not be at war. New technology means changing how you do things to get the most out of it. Otherwise, why make the switch?
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