Accenture Technology Vision 2021 for SAP solutions
The maxim that ‘every business is a technology business’ has never been more relevant. The lines between technology strategy and business strategy are blurring while the gap between the digital leaders and the rest grows by the day.
In this new world, change is a constant and organizational inertia an existential threat to the business. It demands that enterprises become Experts at Change who prioritize technological excellence and innovation as part of the core business strategy.
Organizations running SAP solutions have a huge opportunity to capitalize on this moment of truth by leading with technology.
In this report, we explore five trends that define how the consumer, business, and technology landscape are changing in the post-pandemic world. And we show how SAP solutions can support the greater flexibility, agility, and organizational speed that are now essential.
The imperative is to accept that change is inevitable and continuous—and needs expertise. This is why this year’s Technology Vision calls on leaders to become Experts at Change.
Five technology trends defining business opportunities
The sheer number of technology options and customizations across the technology stack means it’s now a key opportunity for competitive advantage.
Massive networks of intelligent digital twins enable businesses to simulate, predict, and automate what they do like never before.
Accessible digital technologies can spark “grassroots innovation” by enabling people to build technology solutions at the point of need.
The biggest shift in ways of working in living memory creates new opportunities for people to drive change from anywhere and everywhere.
From Me to We
From supply chains to digital ecosystems, connecting via multiparty systems will be essential in finding new growth in a complex world.
#1 Stack Strategically—Architect for change and use SAP technology as a source of competitive advantage.
Today’s businesses operate in a rapidly changing multi-cloud technology landscape. This has created a new competitive reality: competition between enterprises is now as much a battle between their technology stacks as anything else.
SAP customers can leverage API-driven architecture, interoperable containers, and microservices to enable platform independence. This can be achieved via a flexible “plug and play” multi-cloud architecture enabled by SAP Business Technology Platform.
They can also accelerate speed to market by adopting agile development practices and get faster real-time insight with organization-wide data governance complemented with SAP S/4HANA embedded analytics, SAP BW/4HANA data warehousing, and SAP Analytics Cloud.
77% of executives say their technology architecture is becoming very critical or critical to the overall success of their organization
#2 Mirrored World—Bridge the digital and physical worlds with massive networks of digital twins.
As the number of digital twins grows, and as more artificial intelligence is layered in, organizations are creating massive networks of intelligent twins capable of modeling entire systems. This mirrored world lets businesses gather, interpret, simulate, and dynamically respond to data across the lifecycle of physical assets, enhancing the resilience of supply chains.
SAP customers can respond by creating a “digital thread” with real-time connectivity that provides end-to-end visibility across the supply chain. That enables digital continuity by connecting engineering, manufacturing, operations, and partner organizations via SAP solutions and technologies.
Enterprises can also enhance forecasting and predictive capabilities by mirroring the flow of materials and information with SAP’s integrated demand-driven material requirements planning capabilities.
#3 I, Technologist—Spark a grassroots innovation revolution across the organization
Today’s advanced digital technologies are far more accessible—and it’s now possible to spark “grassroots innovation” across the business by enabling people to build technology solutions at the point of need.
SAP customers can start breaking down barriers between business users and technology by enabling “no code” real-time work management with SAP Ruum, drag-and-drop application building with SAP AppGyver, and self-service insights with SAP Analytics Cloud.
Enterprises can also build consumer-grade work interfaces and experiences by using point-and-click customization tools and SAP Fiori In-App extensibility. And greater levels of automation and intelligence can be infused into business processes thanks to SAP Intelligent RPA and AI solutions.
#4 Anywhere, Everywhere—Take advantage of the greatest shift in ways of working in living memory
The COVID-19 pandemic may lead to a tipping point in the shift to flexible remote working and virtual collaboration. The upshot? Companies can now choose how best to capitalize on the newly equipped virtualized workforce, enabling their people to drive change from anywhere and everywhere.
SAP customers can respond by scaling up flexible work environments to let people work wherever they want, while making human-machine interfaces consistent, simple, and user-centered (such as by using immersive collaboration platforms and Microsoft Teams’ forthcoming integration with SAP’s solution suite). They can also use Qualtrics solutions to better understand and act on employee sentiment about user experiences and use SAP Business Technology Platform to enhance workforce collaboration.
#5 From Me to We—Renew the business for the post-pandemic world with multiparty systems
The pace of change and complexity of today’s business landscape means enterprises need to collaborate, coordinate, and coinvent to drive change at an industry level. Multiparty systems—blockchain, distributed ledgers, and similar technology capabilities—will be a crucial enabler.
To respond, enterprises should be looking to keep abreast of the emerging multiparty systems in their industry. That will entail looking beyond the four walls of the enterprise and working with strategic partners to understand the opportunity. SAP customers can also consider new solutions like SAP Business Network to enable better collaboration and greater supply chain responsiveness, and GreenToken by SAP to get visibility and transparency of complex raw materials supply chains.
90% of executives agree that multiparty systems will enable their ecosystems to forge a more resilient and adaptable foundation
Don’t wait for the new normal, build it with SAP technologies
This is a pivotal moment. Companies must decide how to respond to a business environment that is more demanding than ever, but also full of unprecedented opportunity. The five trends described in this Technology Vision for SAP Solutions will guide those decisions and determine which organizations are best able to use SAP technologies and solutions to their advantage—and which will emerge as winners and become experts in continuous change.
Senior Managing Director Lead – SAP Business Group
GLOBAL LEAD – SAP INNOVATION & SUSTAINABILITY, ACCENTURE
Research Lead – Europe Technology, Accenture
Surya Mukherjee is a Senior Principal and thought leader who explores the transformative impact of technologies on industries, companies, and brands. He is also the head of Technology Research in Europe.