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How to rise to the opportunity of digital transformation

Elisabetta Spontoni
March 3, 2021

We hear so often about the pressing need for digital transformation that it’s almost become a cliché. But clichés sometimes sound tired only because they’re true.

That’s certainly the case here. Think about online supermarket shopping. It’s been with us for years now – and during lockdown, it’s become a lifeline – but a few major retailers were late to that particular party, and while most of them do now offer a service, they lost a lot of ground that has been a challenge for them to recover.

The transition to SAP S/4HANA is a further instance. It’s true that SAP has given organizations more time to make the switch – but no business can assume its competitors are going to take advantage of this delay, particularly when the benefits of digital transition justify taking early action.

Service providers: the metrics for success

It’s no small undertaking, of course, and major enterprises are likely to seek external support in making the move. So what are the metrics they might use when looking for a potential service provider?

  • Business transformation: this one’s a given. Potential service providers will need to have the knowledge and expertise necessary to bring together the whole enterprise in a single and flexible digital model – ideally, in a way that starts delivering early results.
  • Application transformation: providers will also need to demonstrate their ability to transform monolithic, legacy ERP applications into a multi-pillar architecture, with:
    • core business processes maintained within SAP S/4HANA;
    • industry-specific standard functions, adapted and integrated on top of this core;
    • additional, customer-developed applications more loosely linked into the enterprise model, and hosted in the cloud.
  • Innovation: innovation is what makes the difference between transition and transformation. Businesses need providers who will be able to release digital potential – so their systems can, for example, extend and apply their knowledge in a continuous cycle. The smarter those systems are, the better they will be at reacting to change, or at anticipating it, and even at making it happen. At Capgemini, we call this the Renewable Enterprise.
  • People transformation: digital transformation works best not just when it encompasses every business function, but when all the people are on board. This means not just reskilling IT teams, but ensuring that everyone else, too, is aware of and enthusiastic about the benefits it makes possible. A good service provider will be able to help shape and deliver the learning and development needed.

Independent advice – and the inside track

Organizations that have added these criteria to their list will also want to gauge independent advice – and to hear from SAP itself, of course.

In the first instance, they might consult NelsonHall’s recent report on SAP ERP Cloud Migration Services, which provides a detailed assessment of vendor offerings. I’m pleased to say that Capgemini is among the top three leaders and innovators in respect to the important metrics highlighted above. NelsonHall categories in which we achieved these ratings are SAP S/4HANA transformation capability; legacy migration; and overall SAP ERP cloud migration. Indeed, in this last, general category, Capgemini achieved the highest ranking of any vendor in its ability to deliver immediate benefits.

In the second instance, SAP is offering its own inside track on the transition. It recently announced RISE with SAP, which it describes as a business-transformation-as-a-service bundle that is delivered in conjunction with its key partners. The bundle includes business process intelligence, migration tools and services, the SAP Business Technology Platform, the SAP Business Network Starter Package, SAP S/4HANA cloud deployment of the customer’s choice, and infrastructure that is also of the customer’s choice. As a Global SAP-Certified Provider of long standing, we at Capgemini are active and enthusiastic participants in this initiative – and our strengths in the rapid delivery of benefits, in innovation, in people transformation, and more, mean there is much we bring to the combined offer.

The Renewable Enterprise: getting started

The Renewable Enterprise, as I termed it just now, is a comprehensive and renewable response to the new, digital business world made possible by SAP S/4HANA. It’s an enterprise that learns as your organization transacts from day to day; that earns revenue even while you’re exploring new avenues of income; that achieves efficiency; and that is, in short, a consistent but flexible digital platform that can accommodate current and future business needs. What’s more, it’s not something for which you need to wait. With the right partner, you can make a start straight away.

The pressing need for digital transformation may almost have become a cliché, and a negative cliché, at that. But why be negative? I’d rather we talked instead of the exciting opportunity of digital transformation – and if that, too, becomes a cliché, it will be no bad thing.

If you, too, would like to talk about this as an opportunity, please do get in touch. You’ll find my contact details below.