You can automate more processes than you think

Fifty per cent of human tasks will be automated by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum. However, it will take a lot more progress to achieve that goal, said Glen Moffatt, VP of the S/4HANA Centre of Excellence at SAP.

Business leaders are exhausted after the last two years, Moffatt said at a recent IT briefing. “Yet, they’re still staring down at the same digital transformation priorities,” he said. “What if we could automate the tedious business tasks and use the humans for higher value analysis?”

Moffatt suggested that organizations could drive performance and return on investment by automating more day-to-day activities, such as accounts payable. It could also be applied at the “macro level to bring greater intelligence to the enterprise,” he said.

Now on demand: “Bring true intelligence to your ongoing transformation”

“I always encourage companies to dream a little and to understand the art of the possible so they can consequently realize a better transformation,” said Moffatt. “This is not science fiction. This is something you can reasonably expect.”

It takes a strong foundation

Although there may still be some instances where on-premises infrastructure makes sense, cloud is “the way to go” to establish a solid foundation for intelligent transformation, said Jason Mausberg, managing director at NTT Data Business Solutions. Indeed, Gartner has predicted that 90 per cent of data and analytics innovation will be delivered by the public cloud by the end of this year.

“You really can’t start anything if you have a bit of a mess around your enterprise core,” added Alpesh Patel, director of IT with ESRI Canada. “The organization needs to be ready to pivot according to demands. Business agility is a cornerstone of success in many industries.”

At the same time, IT leaders must be capable of juggling priorities, said Moffatt.  He called this “bi-modal IT. You have to be good at the foundational stuff, but also the last mile where you solve a problem in the market. This is what truly makes you stand out.”

To achieve this, business and IT teams must work closely together, stressed Mausberg.  “You need a strong partnership,” he said. “Business knows the pain points and their strategic direction. The IT leaders know where the technology is going.”

Start by benchmarking your processes

The first step is the most difficult step in digital transformation, said Mausberg. He suggested that organizations start with a benchmarking exercise to compare their performance to best practices. Moffatt noted that SAP maintains a useful database of best practices by industry.

“Have a look at your organization and pick a process. Everything should be on the table,” said Moffatt. “Ask yourself, am I doing this in an intelligent way and can I refer to another company that is doing it differently?” He noted the case of a construction company that took two hours to run 18 transactions to determine if a project was profitable. After doing this exercise, it can get the answer in less than one minute.

This should always be done with a focus on the potential return on investment, said Mausberg. “Executives like to see it pay off,” he said. “Work through the best practices to show immediate return on investment.  hen move to the idea of dreaming what’s possible and you’ll end up with a great digital transformation roadmap.”

Now on demand: “Bring true intelligence to your ongoing transformation”

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Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker has over 20 years of experience in IT-related fields in the public and private sectors, as a lawyer and strategic advisor. She is a former broadcast journalist, currently working as a consultant, freelance writer and editor.

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