Innovation and digital are something currently seen as de-facto business imperatives in almost any industry. They are more often than not portrayed as huge possibilities, crop waiting to be harvested to gain some previously non-existent value. But being part of a company of which logotype includes the words ‘Technology’ and ‘Consulting,’ I don’t see innovation purely as nirvana.
My technological domain of expertise is mostly limited to SAP, but that’s no exception when it comes to the pace of innovation. Typical connotations with SAP are probably something like ‘ERP’ or ‘Standard’ or ‘Stable.’ But even in this domain, the innovation, that digital business is bringing, is accelerating exponentially. Just consider this: earlier, it was typical that a customer would perform a version upgrade to the system every few years. Now with S/4HANA Cloud, we’re in a quarterly upgrade cycle. Just thinking about that makes you wonder how that is even possible to achieve in an ERP system without compromising system stability. But it is not only possible, it’s mandatory in some cases.
So what does this mean for an SAP application consultant like me? Simply put, it means that I need to be at the edge of innovation at all times. It’s no longer enough that you ensure that the customer’s systems stay up and running. You need to be able to understand the new innovations that are coming available and how those innovations might improve your customer’s business. Now this would be a relatively simple task if we were talking about rarely recurring updates where you would take plenty of time to analyze the upcoming change and then make a decision on whether it’s relevant or not for your customer. But the nature of digital age is unkind in the sense that it throws new innovations at you at an ever increasing rate, forcing you to adapt to this new rate of change or be left behind.
While keeping up with the new innovations is surely demanding and sometimes even exhausting, it’s also unbelievably rewarding. There’s just something about that feeling when you learn something new and get it working. I’ve always been fond of the idea behind ‘life-long learning’ and that’s truly what I’m looking at when considering the future of my career here at Capgemini.