October 12, 2012 // By: Heather McIlvaine
Examples from Apple and Kodak
As fast as a Budapest cabbie weaves through traffic: that’s the pace of change in the business world today. At the SAP Business Transformation Summit held in Hungary’s capital city on October 11th and 12th, thought leaders from academia and business, as well as SAP customers, met to discuss how companies can keep pace with progress through business transformation. “There are two reasons to change,” said Lars Gollenia, head of Business Transformation Services, SAP Germany, in his opening address. “One – because there’s so much pressure in the market and from competitors that you have to change. And two – because you want to change in order to avoid that pressure.” Factors like the massive amount of data being created, the number of mobile devices in the world, and the continued growth of social networks, are just some of the trends instigating change in the business world today. Many companies are looking for ways to take advantage of these trends, and that, according to Gollenia, is where the digital enterprise comes in.
The digital enterprise, the focus of this year’s Summit, is one that is customer-centric, reacts quickly to markets, has a high speed of transactions and services, and carries out highly automated decision-making. In short, it is a company that transforms to stay competitive in a rapidly-changing market. How does a company become a digital enterprise? Easier said than done. Take Kodak, for example. The camera and film manufacturer dominated the industry for decades. It was even the first company to develop the technology and hold the patent for digital cameras. It should have come out on top when consumers switched from analog to digital picture-taking. But in February 2012, Kodak went bankrupt. That’s because business transformation requires more than just technology.
SAP has a special line of services, Business Transformation Services (BTS), to help customers in its Value Partnership program undergo the process of business transformation. Many of these transformation methodologies come from the international community of academics and business experts who make up the research arm of the organization, the Business Transformation Academy. The yearly Summit brings their latest insights and findings directly to customers. Experts from the business also present their transformation experiences (both successes and challenges) to their peers.
On the next page: How Steve Jobs transformed Apple