What’s the Urgency Behind Becoming an Intelligent Enterprise?

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The buzz about intelligent technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) – is only getting louder.

Every day we see proof of how these innovations are dictating the future success of every business, where data science meets algorithm-driven automation. And in most cases, industry experts warn that companies will wither without advancing data-driven automation and decision-making.

But just like any other emerging technology, the benefits of intelligent technologies are easy to miss when tuning out a steady stream of fake news, fear-mongering bluster, obtuse messaging, and expertly crafted fictional promises. According to industry and technology analysts, this is not the moment to mistake the rise of intelligent technology as a half-hearted marketing ploy.

In its “Technology Vision 2018” report Accenture observes, “Businesses depend on technology-based partnerships for growth, but their own legacy systems aren’t designed to support partnerships at scale. To fully power the connected Intelligent Enterprise, companies must first re-architect themselves.”

Why Companies Should Start Their Transition Now

When it comes to winning the digital race to market leadership, businesses cannot afford the significance of three fundamental challenges:

  • Nurturing the right innovation culture: Businesses are in a continuous cycle of evolution, and widespread adoption of digital technology is a critical enabler. This reality requires a workforce that possesses the right talent, skills, and partnerships to capitalize on digital opportunities.
  • Busting corporate cholesterol: The older and bigger a company, the more resistant it is to change. Often, the workforce is stuck in a restrictive culture governed by policies, procedures, layers of management, and a fear of risk – leaving little room for innovation and creative thinking.
  • Standing down IT complexity: On average, nearly three-quarters of an IT budget is focused on keeping the existing digital landscape running smoothly. But unfortunately, this also means that any prospect of managing data as a strategic asset and enforcing master data governance across a fragmented portfolio of applications falls to the wayside. Most data points are then unused, leaving decision makers without the visibility they need to understand operational and financial performance, identify and address risks and opportunities, and act in real time.

These issues may be complex, but they are certainly not unusual. No matter the industry, budget, or digital maturity, navigating these challenges requires an attitude and mindset that is malleable enough to consider new ways of doing business as well as the time to address issues fully.

But given the current speed of change, digital technologies also have a short shelf life. Just two short years will turn any innovative breakthrough into a mainstream requirement to keep up with the competition. For this reason, businesses must open themselves to digital investments that can carry them forward by first building a foundation that can realize the value of new technologies – whether they already exist or not.

With a digital foundation that allows a step-by-step, data-driven approach to digital innovation, businesses no longer have to wait until the right technology stack is available and affordable enough to implement. Instead, they can transform themselves into intelligent enterprises that can:

  • Think through end-to-end mega-processes and align them with strategic priorities
  • Build future enterprise architecture and partnerships with a clear direction
  • Gain the speed and agility to innovate with the latest digital technologies and prove the value of new products, services, processes, and business models without delay

The Intelligent Enterprise: A Democratic Era of Competitive Innovation 

The great news about today’s slate of intelligent technologies is the opportunity for any business to operate competitively in a constantly changing and accelerating marketplace. Regardless of size and legacy, companies can consume new innovations and deliver the outcomes at the exact moment and place they need them.

But for businesses to significantly change how they remain competitive, they must differentiate themselves with these technologies as intelligent enterprises. This democratic shift allows companies to go beyond just adopting and innovating a variety of sophisticated solutions for the sake of keeping up with the competition. Now, they can gain a well-rounded view into all user perspectives and level of digital connectedness that breaks down barriers that often and limit access to business-wide insight and information. And it is those capabilities that will help businesses win now and well into the future.

Discover the SAP blueprint that can help your business move from value discovery to value delivery. Read the whitepaper “Enabling the Intelligent Enterprise for Best-Run Businesses.”

This is part three of the five-part series “The Anatomy of the Intelligent Enterprise.” Over the next few weeks, we will continue to examine how businesses can optimize the transition to an intelligent enterprise.

Oliver Huschke is global head of Solution Marketing and Communications for SAP Digital Business Services. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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