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The future of intelligent businesses

January 26, 2023

The Future of Intelligent Businesses

Only a few years ago, digital transformation was something companies would eventually have to incorporate into their strategic plan. But, all of a sudden, in March 2020, the whole planet had to turn to remote connections and re-think how to communicate, interact and produce. In a world that embraced a life online as never before, the "intelligent business" became the thing to be. We'll explore here what it is, what it takes to be one, and how to be one.

The pandemic forced businesses into significant changes: to make their relationships with suppliers more agile, to enhance the distribution logistics and supply processes, and to become genuinely customer-centric, if they hadn't already.
Resiliency became a top requirement across organizations. Amid an unexpectedly adverse context, they had to adapt quickly and start their journey to be a smart business.

In technological terms, it is about turning into an organization that can integrate processes into a single database with which every business area interacts. Being able to gather data that is updated in real-time in an orderly, efficient way, enabling reading and the correct interpretation when needed, allows for better decision-making, demand forecasting, and the satisfaction of less captive, more demanding customers.

But also, the transformation process relies on the advantages offered by the cloud, as it is integrated with the business processes to gather all the data generated and turn it into insights with the information processing techniques and artificial intelligence in the cloud platforms to make decisions based on objective data, increasing human capacity and facilitating adaptation to market-led changes.

Stairway to the cloud

The investment in technology to make the business smart, be customer-centric and leverage the cloud's benefits is a growing trend that will continue. According to an IDC report, 27% of the companies prioritized investment in technology to improve customer experience in 2022, and 24% said cloud-based applications are their priority. Also, 40% of IT budgets will be allocated to embedded-as-a-service packages.

Nevertheless, cloud migration is different for all companies and every process or system within a company. It is critical that the cloud strategy is aligned with the business strategy and that it actively supports it, whatever the kind of product or service we offer to our customers.

The cloud has come to be a facilitator for companies of all sizes. It offers a safe, reliable, and agile environment. It allows for fast deployments with a small up-front investment and eliminates the need for physical infrastructure. But, it is essential to choose the adequate technology for your critical business needs and to have a suitable supplier to guide you and walk you through the process.

Technology professionals now have a more proactive and strategic approach within their IT areas, allowing many industries to start their migration journey. Gartner consultancy company predicted that these platforms will serve as the base for more than 95% of the new digital initiatives by 2025, compared to less than 40% in 2021. "There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy," said Milind Govekar, Gartner distinguished Vice-president, during the last Gartner IT Symposium / Xpo EMEA.

Thinking of talent and finding the right time

However, only some things are (only) technology. When discussing a strategy to be a smart business, a broader look that considers the human factor is needed. "Organizations must understand that, although technology is a critical aspect of their businesses, it is not the only one to be considered. Companies are still made up of people, and attention to employees is still key to offering customers quality service. Not only is the work environment or culture important, but there must also be inclusion and equal income and opportunities," says Rodrigo Solon, VP - SAP Head of Business Technology Platform for Latin America & Caribbean.

Regardless of where the companies find themselves in the journey, there is always a path that can lead them to become a smart business. Each company has its unique starting point. Some are moved by the need to escalate their digital structure rapidly. Some others have already adopted a cloud ERP and are ready to take the next step. There might be established companies operating complex on-premise IT architectures. Or, innovators need to focus on their business core. Each one will have to assess their situation and advance slowly but surely.

How to go and who to go with

Options and alternatives have appeared which adapt to each company's reality, pace, and situation. For example, this is what RISE with SAP is about: a complete and novel offer of "business transformation as a service" that enables you to sketch your road map, which will include new business models and the best practices in each industry, using a single incident operation and management, service level agreement (SLA).

The offer helps companies to migrate to or access SAP S/4HANA Cloud to use the ERP solution in the cloud. It includes a tool such as Business Process Intelligence, which facilitates the understanding, visualization, and transformation of the necessary processes. And all of that, supported by SAP Business Technology Platform, a solution including data management tools, advanced analytics, app development or integration tools, artificial intelligence, IoT, RPA (Robotic Process Automation), and blockchain. This is undoubtedly a qualitative and quantitative leap for companies of every size and industry.

At this point, the role played by those becoming strategic allies is critical. SAP-solution and industry-specific knowledge, specialization, and expertise are crucial for the journey to be more simple and solid. SEIDOR, the SAP business partner for more than four decades and a member of United VARs, has been essential in supporting companies across the Americas in this transition towards smart business.

The truth is there is no more time. The train is coming, and jumping onto it ensures your company's survival. Being a smart business calls for smart decisions. Think, decide, choose, and move forward. The future is today.

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