“Change is the only constant in life” – Heraclitus
Just a decade ago, most SAP project implementations would kick off with a clear definition of the set of SAP modules that would be implemented as part of the project, together with a close enough estimate of the ROI that the business can expect to achieve at the end of such a project.
However, over the years, due to the emergence of new technology and the pace of change, it has become more challenging to set out these expectations at the offset, especially in projects that span over years.
With the dynamic pace of change in the ERP eco-system and the delivery models (e.g. SOCA, cloud, SaaS, PaaS, etc.) there is a growing trend in project management to add a “NewTech” buffer in every project plan. This buffer is not necessarily to implement the new “Must-have”, but is rather a period in which the project team can assess the options available on how and when to integrate this new offering into the solution design.
One thing that project experience teaches you is to have a plan that can adapt to change. You can have the best plan, the best resources and the best product, and work for 2 -3 years on a defined set of deliverables, but in that time if the market has shifted, then there is going to be trouble.
Case Study: Nokia.
Fact: Fortune 500 firms in 1955 vs. 2014; 88% are gone. The next 60 years will have its own surprises too.
A robust and contained project management methodology is not going to hold for too long and this has seen the rise of the Agile approach.
Being Agile is the new norm and technology is in the heart of it.
Business demands have changed, technology has shrunk the world, external factors like FTAs (Free Trade Agreements), TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) are also contributing and legal compulsions (for example, the European Union rules and the effects of Brexit) are weighing down on IT systems to match up with changing trends and be worth the investment.
One of key changes taking place in the solution offerings worldwide are that the ‘best-in-breeds’ are the ones that are dominating. Salesforce has basically taken the game away from the big player when it comes to CRM services.
The new trend seems to be to implement the best-of-breed and integrate with the rest. This has led to the design change in modules which have been made better and more efficient in seamlessly integrating into the overall process chain.
This trend has in turn led to specialisation and with specialisation comes the self-pro-claimed right to fancy job titles. There was a time when the word ’data’ was boring and ’scientist’ was sophisticated, but now ‘Data Scientists’ are springing up everywhere. Most large organisations these days have a ‘CDO – Chief Data Officer” to look after their valuable information asset: data.
Note: I think in some organisations it wouldn’t hurt to also have a “CHO – Chief Happiness Officer” to look after an even more valuable asset 😉
With business adopting to specialised best-in-breed softwares and systems, the number of integration points and interfaces in the IT eco-system are rising at a rapid pace. This is why companies that provide Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) solutions will do well.
Modules that could be setup to a large extent in its own individual areas now requires specialist resources in other systems integration points to also get involved to make sure that there are no complications in the end-to-end business process chain.
Tip: Spending some time with a FICO consultant is a great place to start to gain this insight into module and systems integration since more or less every module contributes in postings entries into GL Accounts.
However, it will not stop here, there will be a lot more to come. Not only will integration points increase, but externally trends like ‘creative disruption’ will also begin to have its effect on the market and will change the playing field.
In today’s world, you either disrupt or you will be disrupted. Being disrupted generally leads to bad things, very bad things- ask Blockbuster.
However, SAP has been right on the money with this. They have shown why they lead by taking the lead.
SAP’s time-to-market has evolved and they are keeping up to speed on the technology highway, there are no exits here: only extensions. If you have worked on R2, R3, SAP ERP you would probably agree with me and if you have worked on RF, you know this better than most of us.
The metabolism of the world for new technology is in full throttle and SAP has been keeping up. The pace at which SAP have been churning out new products and services into the market over the past decade has really taken off and it is not likely to slow down.
As you would know, SAP’s S4 HANA is the latest major solution offering and it is truly revolutionising how businesses are run, but it won’t be the last of its kind because what’s new today is already a day-old tomorrow.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will take on more complicated tasks in the process chain (it has already to an extent with bots). We could be living in a world where an SAP bot discusses and sells a customer a product online, then processes the sales order in SAP, runs the MRP, coordinates the production, picks, packs and schedules the final delivery to be done by a self-driving delivery vehicle; all this whilst discussing and taking more orders online.
So, we are heading into an interesting age ahead and as humans we will change and adapt too. We will probably be programmed to challenge our AI buddies of the future on their way of logical thinking, with our very own PBI (Partial Brain Interface) and if you don’t think that will happen, just google ’Neuralink’.
About our Guest Writer:
Suren holds certifications in Project management, SAP solutions & Accounting, and is passionate about sharing his consulting experiences with fellow colleagues in the domain. He is also an avid follower on the latest developments in the tech space. Connect with him on LinkedIn