Listen to the voice of your customer
Requirements always change and move on, but there’s been an explosion over the last few years under the title of Digital Transformation. Digital Transformation has changed the way businesses and individuals consume IT, and it has increased expectations – both from availability and usability perspectives. Driving this Digital Transformation and change is a familiar face – your customer.
Taking a look at the bigger picture, I would distill these requirements down into three key areas:
- From reactive to proactive and insightful
IT services have traditionally prided themselves on stability and speed of response to an issue. There is now diminishing returns from this approach, and so the expectation is to increase the level of proactive drive around improvements and innovation based on analysis and insight that can be extracted either from the market or from the applications under management.
- From cost saving to cost effective and value based
When IT was an overhead, it was expected to be as cheap as possible. With today’s emerging technologies IT once again has the opportunity to provide competitive advantage through supporting new processes and business models. Cheapest is no longer the best option if the value to the business can be articulated and there is no significant wastage.
- From delivery excellence to customer focused
A focus on delivery excellence will continue to be an essential requirement of the customer, but an increase in the alignment to customer/business requirements is key. No longer is it sufficient to deliver to the go-live date, the question now becomes when will the benefits be delivered?
And, of course, all this must be done with the minimal amount of disruption as the pace of change increases.
Clearly, the SAP landscape is not immune to these changes in requirements. Sitting at the heart of the business, the amount of insightful data available is immense, and by making it actionable, a large amount of value can be tapped into at low cost. From a customer-focused perspective, SAP has always been a very business-centric application, sold on delivering what its customers (business and end users) require, so there is a basis on which to deliver.
Therefore, if SAP is not immune to these requirements and has the basis for delivering here, what should your approach be?
Applying some simple key principles – agility, focus, innovation, efficiency
Capgemini is recognized as a market leader in the delivery of next-generation ADM services through our ADMnext approach. Recently I’ve been discussing our Everest Group paper, Applications Transformation for the Digital Age, with David Lowson, Head of Capgemini European SAP Center of Excellence, and the key principles that can be applied to deliver our Renewable Enterprise concept for customers looking to exploit their SAP investments.
We agree that there are four key principles:
- Agility Driven
In the SAP area, agility covers a number of areas. Firstly, the applications themselves, exploiting the latest Cloud-based technologies and infrastructures, like SAP Cloud Platform, ensure that flexibility is delivered, as well as the surety of support. Secondly, adopting a microservices architecture with API Management ensures that hybrid landscapes can be created and supported quickly and easily. Finally, adopting the right methods and tools so that operational efficiency (with resulting cost savings) is achieved throughout the whole Application Lifecycle.
- Business Focused
In an age where IT can be extremely complex and multi-dimensional, having a clear alignment to business outcomes and expected benefits is key. For example, initially defining clear, quantifiable expectations for requirements and then following them through to deliver using an approach like Capgemini’s iCaptivate. Or, in the support phase, measuring support based on process availability and efficiency with tools such as our Business Command Center.
- Innovation Led
Innovation is a mindset that must be supported with appropriate tools and methods. To drive the innovation and understand where new opportunities exist, toolsets like Process Mining should be exploited. The latest approaches such as Design Thinking, combined with Digital Twin type landscapes on the Cloud make it easy to Learn Fast, Fail Fast – while ensuring that a proper scale-up method exists will close the loop from Ideation to Deployment.
- Efficiency based
Cost will never be far from the picture though, and all capabilities and services must be frequently assessed and commoditized. Exploitation of the latest AI and Intelligent Automation tools helps to do this, along with exploiting streamlined methods such as Agile and DevOps on top of SAP accelerators such as the Industry Specific Model Companies.
The question of how to apply these principles will vary depending on your current circumstances, as well as your specific markets and priorities.
I invest a lot of my time working these through with our customers and would love to discuss your current applications strategy to see if we can help.