Digital enablers, the digital tools dedicated to efficiency, flexibility and fluidity, leverage new technologies and break the limitations of standardized technology products and drive business innovation. The challenge for many business leaders, however, is designing a system with the right mix of resources and technology that is complex–not complicated–and preserves agility. Getting it right can yield massive dividends–as the humble invoice will likely prove.
According to Serena Chen, Supply Chain and Operations analyst with Deloitte Consulting LLP, the focus has primarily been on the value chain. However, in the midst of platform-based business models and the beginnings of digital ecosystems as the key to business success, leaders are trying to find the best way to harmonize and balance them to bring out the best of value. Says Chen: “One plus one will sometimes equal more than two.”
The reality of that arithmetic can be daunting because the path to digital transformation–or being ‘digital-enabled’–means companies must take a holistic look at their system and processes, tie them back to their strategy, and leverage new technologies like cloud, AI and machine learning.
Zoher Neemuchwala, a Specialist Leader in Deloitte’s SAP Cloud Practice, Deloitte Consulting LLP, echoes that sentiment, “Businesses can’t simply transform any one particular process in a particular niche area and call themselves ‘digitized.’ They have to build an ecosystem and make sure their strategy is directly connected to the business transformation it [ecosystem] can drive.”
He continues that companies need look no further than enterprises that have transformed themselves or brought new, innovative tech to the fore. Behind the scenes, Neemuchwala says, is a digital ecosystem and creative thinking that allow “a very easy, simple yet innovative and meaningful experience for the end customers.”
“Based on the industry and scale of the business, investing in the right technology at the right time is very, very important,” cautions Hussain Wagh, Manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and for a key reason: What leaders build will allow the organization to stay agile–and kinetic, helping to ensure it is built to evolve not just built to last. The stakes are high.
He offers the place to begin is by having a clear path to calculate the value on the technology investment and technology adoption. Companies without such visibility “may lag behind to enable the technologies and miss out on opportunities to keep themselves agile.”
Organizations have been struggling with automating manual and mundane processes for some time, living with the ensuing frustration, confusion, delays and lost business opportunities. Neemuchwala offers that the two sides of the digital enablement–process transformation and services transformation–can have remarkable impacts on a business when paired with enabling technologies like cloud, AI, machine learning. And it’s the mix of technologies that can affect a powerful, effective, yet simple solution.
Take the humble invoice and the myriad processes each can require as the perfect problem–one for which Deloitte innovated a touchless processing solution. Built with a blend of Amazon Web Services, machine learning and data conversion models, plus data service technology, Deloitte rested the solution on the SAP Cloud Platform. When connected to the core SAP ERP, the end result is impactful and verges on elegant: At the click of a button, an invoice is uploaded and all the validations are done, solving a huge problem–processing invoices–organizations have been grappling with for decades and decades.
For Wagh, that’s where the right technology mix lights up: “Three different technology platforms are combined, but the beauty–and the innovation–is the integration.”
For Chen, transformation planning and decisions must turn to people, and not just customers, but employees, suppliers as well–the ecosystem of humans. She builds on the journey to innovate the invoice by returning to where it all began: Asking the right questions and leading the right conversation.
When designing the invoice process transformation, employees were surveyed, as were the suppliers, and the client’s leadership. With the right feedback, you can rise to the challenge of harmonizing and balancing everything in this whole ecosystem, while choosing the right technology. “Everybody in your value chain to be part of this whole digital ecosystem building process,” she concludes.
Neemuchwala offers a final, and lasting thought about digital enablers and transformation. “It’s not just about bringing in revenues. It's also about providing a meaningful experience to organizations, employees and what they do day in and day out. More satisfied employees can often lead to more productive employees. And that's what, business leaders and technologists need to remember while solving these challenges.”
Want more transformation insights from enterprise leaders? Visit deloitte.com/SAP to download future podcast episodes or listen to previous ones.