Innovation never ends. The flow of new technologies emanating from the makers of software and hardware is endless—from routine but important feature upgrades to highly focused apps to mind-bending business technology concepts that blur the line between reality and science fiction.
For any organization operating in any industry today, this constant stream of innovation can be overwhelming—another layer of disruption on top of market forces, customer expectations, internal pressures, global factors, and other challenges.
SAPinsider and Deloitte transformation and innovation specialists offer insights on top technology trends, specific tools, opportunities for enterprise transformation, and some of the leading practices for assessing, prioritizing, and deploying new technologies.
Business and tech savvy executives
Business strategy and technology strategy are becoming more intertwined, so much so that if companies neglect to develop the tech component to accompany their short- and long-term goals, they will be challenged to deliver against them. In his experience, Chip Kleinheksel, principal and global SAP offering chief technology officer, Deloitte Consulting LLP, sees how “strategists are actually using strategic technology platforms, advanced analytics, automation and so on, to simplify and really accelerate the development of the strategy, not just the execution.”
Regardless of the competitive playing field, Soumya Chakravorty, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, offers that companies need tech savvy C-suite business executives, and business-savvy tech leaders. “The playbook is changing from who owns the best technology to who uses technology the best.” Chakravorty points to a 2021 Deloitte survey that indicated 40 percent of CEOs said that their CIO or tech leader will be the key driver of business strategy more than the CFO, COO and CMO combined.
Mindset, culture and innovation
“Mindset is as critical a skill set as technology and knowledge when it comes to innovation,” says Rizal Ahmed, chief research officer, SAPinsider. Companies looking to develop and integrate applications into the business as part of a journey of innovation need to have more than talent and expertise – they need to have the right culture and the commitment of leaders and everyone throughout the organization. Without it, “projects may yield first-year or first-month success, but long-term change and innovation just won’t be there.”
Consider how, in the early days of the 2020 pandemic, some companies were able to pivot quickly, change manufacturing processes to address urgent needs around the globe: Air purifier manufacturers began making ventilators, alcohol beverage companies shifted to making hand sanitizers. They were able to do that, Chakravorty suggests, because those companies were already working with the right mindset. “Things like creative culture, analytic culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), collaboration – it all allows companies to thinking outside of the box and react to burning needs.”
Never trust, always verify
“Sophisticated cyber-attacks, shifting enterprise environments have pretty much undermined the traditional castle-and-moat approach to cyber security,” says Chakravorty. For that reason, companies must engage in a harsh reality: Never trust, always verify.
And with the proliferation of cloud and mobile applications, companies must think at the device level, the application level, the transaction level. But they also need to have GRC – governance, risk and compliance – expertise built into security. “Somewhere along the line,” says Ahmed, “there's going to be an opening and people are spending a lot of time studying those weak spots. Leaders must have a deep understanding and the only way to do that is to have that expertise as part of their team.”
Focus on pain points
When companies set out on the journey to weave new tech and innovation into the organization, they must resist getting lost in the gloss of technology, buckling under pressure from boards of directors, or trying to replicate what has worked for other companies. Instead, Ahmed offers, embrace the simple trust of focusing on your pain points, and bust up silos between IT and the business.
Chakravorty agrees and adds that while in any given industry there are many foundational models and processes, others are unique and strategic to a particular company. “Leaders need to think of both business and IT solutions that are tailored to address their specific pain points, and not just rely on one-size-fits-all approach.”
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