On January 27, Christian Klein SAP’s CEO announced the availability of a very significant new offering: Business Transformation as a Service. This is a big deal.
The Intelligent Enterprise is more than a vision
Over the last few years SAP has championed the vision of the Intelligent Enterprise. An enterprise that is resilient and adaptive, driven by AI-derived insight and Big Data. While this vision has resonated with CEOs across the world, they are still left with having to figure out what this means to their organizations, and how to transform. SAP has faced a similar challenge, but now its broad portfolio of enterprise applications and platforms have coalesced around the same vision. SAP is drawing on its own transformation experience, and decades of expertise in solving business challenges, to help businesses to tackle the how. This includes a wealth of benchmarked best-in-class processes, applications, and platform technologies and tools.
Klein emphasized the need for transformation to be holistic. That’s been my view for a long time, although the how hasn’t always been so apparent. He also announced the planned acquisition of Signavio, an intelligent process mining vendor, which beefs up process design, simulation, and optimization. SAP already had a major partnership with Celonis, which has led this field, so whilst Signavio is a welcome addition to SAP’s burgeoning transformation portfolio, it came as a bit of a surprise. Klein also announced a deeper partnership with Microsoft to embed Microsoft Teams and offer its new business transformation as a service (BTaaS) on the Azure Cloud IaaS platform. This should go down well with companies that are already using Azure for other applications. Teams make sense to provide greater cross-organization collaboration – essential for any major transformation initiative.
Anatomy of SAP’s Business Transformation as a Service offering
Rather than a simple but usually valueless ‘lift-and-shift’ approach to the cloud from on-premise applications, SAP will configure the BTaaS platform to support a lean approach to a genuine business transformation. SAP is increasingly moving to a more modular Lego-like approach to support rapid adaptation and new business models. It will offer a single contract with agreed SLAs which Klein said can reduce the cost of ‘ownership’ by 20%. This massively simplifies dealing with SAP and provides a single point of contact making contractual life easer for its customers.
The key elements of the offering:
- Business process redesign is where Signavio comes in, using the digital exhaust of existing processes that often span systems from multiple vendors. This will highlight inefficiencies and inconsistencies and provide a source of the truth. If Signavio is anything like Celonis, it should also quantify performance gaps and identify potential savings post redesign. SAP’s process benchmarking data covering over 1,300 best-in-class processes should also accelerate process redesign. Simulation support is also available so businesses can make good choices.
- Technical Migration support – tools and services to help companies move from existing on-premise applications to the cloud.
- Build your intelligent enterprise –
- Includes cloud infrastructure via SAP HANA Cloud or cloud infrastructure from hyperscalers, not just Microsoft.
- SAP Business Technology Platform handles the heavy lifting of integration, which unifies data management, analytics, AI, IoT, blockchain, and application development technologies such as microservices for last-mile application needs.
- Enterprise applications such as SAP S/4HANA Cloud for ERP, SAP Customer Experience (its customer engagement platform), SAP SuccessFactors for HR, SAP Fieldglass – for contingent workforce management.
- Ariba Network – to connect and buy and sell across the network of over 5 million businesses in 190 countries
SAP’s Business Technology Platform is Open, allowing for integration and data management across other vendor applications. This openness extends to the SAP Business Transformation as a Service solution.
What I find particularly encouraging about this announcement, is that SAP, along with its ecosystem of partners, now has the wherewithal to support the three critical value disciplines of:
- Operational excellence
- Customer experience management and
- Continuous innovation.
Get this right, and each enterprise will have the capabilities to sense, respond and adapt at the right pace to ensure persistent customer relevance. Take a look at the blog: New value disciplines must be mastered for the digital age for a deeper dive on the value disciplines.