On the path to digital transformation

It's likely that your organization has taken the digital transformation path, catering to fast-changing customer demands by using new technologies. Chances are high that next-generation ERPs, such as SAP S/4HANA and Oracle’s NetSuite ERP, play a central role in transforming the way your organization operates.  

Starting such a transformation journey is a no-brainer. ERPs offer you the opportunity to use centralized real-time data insights across all businesses and client engagements. Simultaneously, they help you operate more effectively and be more responsive to market changes.

By applying a human-centered change approach, and bringing along the people that make the organization tick, you can really make use of next-gen ERPs' full potential and truly realize transformation. With this article, we will share our vision on the human side of digital transformation.  

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Technology + people = result

This sounds like a simple formula. Yet, most organizations consider moving to next-gen ERP simply a technical move, in which user adoption is just a ‘tick-in-the-box' activity. This is rather surprising as routine and administrative tasks that used to be manual, may become partly or even completely automated.  

At the same time, with ERP, data becomes available in real-time, drastically reducing throughput time and providing new opportunities that need instant response. Both effects have a large impact on the required skills and competencies of your workforce. We believe that by combining technology and people in a human-centered change approach, you can truly unleash ERPs' full potential.  

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By combining technology and people in a human-centered change approach, you can truly unleash ERPs' full potential.

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On the one hand, it’s good to notice that standardized cloud ERPs, such as SAP S/4HANA, will push upgrades on a regular basis, guaranteeing your organization will benefit from industry best practices. On the other hand, this also means less flexibility to customize the system for your businesses. That means your people and processes need to adjust to the system instead of the other way around. A more agile organization is, therefore, becoming the norm. 

Putting the ‘heart’ back in transformation 

Traditionally, change management for implementing (IT) systems focused on a sequence of activities. This included performing change impact assessments, leadership communications, system training and setting up an aftercare period focusing on issue management. While all this is essential, it misses a crucial ingredient, which is addressing employee needs.  

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Human-Centered Change, as the name suggests, focuses on the individual and their expectations and needs, and wishes to engage and commit those impacted by a change.  Building on insights from traditional change management and incorporating our research and experience, we make sure that our human-centered change method uses the latest and greatest from important areas like neuroscience and design thinking.  

Key ‘moments that matter’—that have an impact on employee behavior—are defined and used as input to identify the necessary change interventions. It's important that people understand the why as well as the how; they will be more engaged when you give them an explanation of the benefits and overall goals of the shift.

These interventions will facilitate the right experience for an employee. You'll create a pull from the workforce, by tapping into intrinsic motivation. This, in combination with a data-driven approach, measuring and acting upon end-users’ sentiments, will bring out the real working formula to navigate major digital transformation.

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How SAP S/4HANA transforms your organization into an agile survivor

We explain how SAP S4/HANA can help your business face the challenges today's world throws at you. Learn about the SAP S/4HANA benefits and what steps you can take to put it into practice.

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A boundless transformation: rethinking your operating model 

75 percent of executives acknowledge that digital operating models must be ‘flexible, dynamic and human-centric.' Among the rapid and consistent change that smart technologies can bring, a flexible and innovative operating model is critical to adapt, compete, and grow in a disruptive environment. 



acknowledge that digital operating models must be 'flexible, dynamic, and human-centric'.

An organization that has a good understanding of the essential functions and capabilities, and integrates these into its operating model, will be able to offer its employees the essential upskilling opportunities.  

When your organization’s core operating model is able to drive innovation with agility, you can sprint ahead of the pack. In practice, this means integrating technology, business, and operations into autonomous domains. Domains boost agility, so your company can be disruptive in new areas while also supporting traditional lines of business.  

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When your organization’s core operating model is able to drive innovation with agility, you can sprint ahead of the pack.

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Work and workforce: a new lens

ERP cloud platform automation and real-time data capabilities may increasingly call for new skills and competencies. It’s essential to build skills in the ‘here and now’; buteven more so—it's important to understand and plan future developments.  

New technologies require further workforce qualifications, moving much work away from administrative, operational work and putting more emphasis on creativity, complex reasoning skills, and social-emotional intelligence.  

That is why re-imagining the work activities—by assessing tasks within roles, re-configuring jobs and mapping skills to jobs—is critical to enabling optimal human value while accelerating the speed and scale of effective training and adoption. Using the Build-Buy-Borrow-Bot framework, the required blended workforce can move to the next level and get ready to start the future with required agility.  

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Human-centered with digital transformation

Change can be scary, but the journey can result in some unexpected benefits for your company.

Unleashing the true potential of innovative technologies is no more a distant future, especially when you can match the latest and greatest IT with a human-centered, data-driven, change approach. Besides the possibility to enhance, this is not a big challenge when you pay enough attention to operating model implications and obtain in-dept insight about the future workforce's requirements.  

Do you want to get more insights into how to handle the human side of technical change and successfully walk the path of digital transformation? We are here to help! 

Imre Morren

Management Consulting Analyst – Accenture Strategy & Consulting, Supply Chain & Operations group

Jan-Joost Oostenbrink

Change & Project Manager – Accenture Strategy & Consulting, Resources industry

Geert Bakens

Senior Change and Program Manager - Accenture Strategy & Consulting, Resources industry

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