At the beginning of each year, for SAP® hosts a gathering of SAP executives, SAP field employees and partners for their Americas Field Kick-Off Meeting (FKOM). Colleagues from across the globe gathered together in Las Vegas to gain and exchange the latest information on SAP’s strategy, sales methodology, best practices, and product innovations. Clarkston Consulting is proud to have a long history as partner with SAP and I was glad to be able to attend this event again this year.
One of the most prominent themes for 2017 was that this is the year of digital transformation for SAP customers. In fact, digital transformation is happening to every SAP customer in every industry. SAP S/4HANA® and the cloud continued to be touted as the digital core, or the foundation that companies can use to support their digital objectives.
We hear from our own clients in the consumer products and life sciences industries that they are looking to do more than implement isolated technology projects. In fact, pressure is building to start proving competitive gains from the new digital economy.
For our life sciences clients, the digital revolution is changing the way our companies engage with patients and providers. Life sciences companies are faced with finding new ways to engage as traditional activities and channels are becoming digitized. For our consumer products clients, they are still struggling to translate more data into a competitive advantage. Almost 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years, but how much more knowledgeable are our consumer products clients?
At the SAP FKOM conference, SAP suggests that the underpinning of the digital economy is upgrading to SAP S/4HANA® . The modern, robust architecture of this software provides a single source of truth, flexible consumption on any device. The platform is designed to be people centric and deliver real-time benefits.
In addition to the focus on the digital transformation, SAP and their partners also collaborated on some other themes for 2017 including:
- Companies are beginning to manage their data as a critical resource;
- Executives and corporate boards are talking openly about growth and expansion through mergers and acquisitions;
- American organizations are navigating disruption and uncertainty;
- Advanced technology (like machine learning and artificial intelligence) is affordable and can be a viable and feasible component in a holistic IT strategy; and
- Innovation is an infinite cycle of re-imagining your business.
Throughout the conference, the presentations tied back to these themes and the ways that managing data (both big and small) through the various SAP software offerings, can help companies achieve their strategic goals in 2017 and beyond.
One area where our clients have been looking for new insights and technology over the last year has been around incorporating predictive analytics into their operations. I was encouraged to see that SAP has launched a variety of new capabilities through the SAP BusinessObject’s Predictive Analytics solution. These technology advancements can enable an 80% reduction in time required to build new models and can deliver a 5-10% revenue improvement. I’m sure my clients would be interested to explore any technology committing to top-line returns over 5% and I will be excited to introduce these new capabilities to my clients in the year ahead.